Amidst a global pandemic and growing environmental concerns, it is clear that our human existence is fragile and deeply dependent on the common ecosystem we share with all species on Earth. Interspecies Café is an extension of SUPERFLEX’s artistic practice that aims to explore our symbiotic relationship with the natural world to address the pressing challenges of our time.
SUPERFLEX recognizes the power of the collective and, with this, the need for a radically deeper understanding and internalization of multifaceted perspectives. Collaboration and knowledge-sharing play a foundational role in the development of SUPERFLEX’s recent works, where specialists across the fields of marine biology, conservation and art have joined forces in order to imagine a future world fit for submersion.
These collaborations have and continue to play a pivotal role in developing SUPERFLEX’s interest in Interspecies Living. Interspecies Café thus extends the invitation for engagement at the crossroads between science and art. Through podcast conversations with selected experts: Dr. Alex Jordan, Professor Rikke Andreassen, PhD Fellow Katarina Hovden and certified hypnotherapist Tommy Rosenkilde, SUPERFLEX hopes to encourage dialogue which ponders the possibilities for coexistence in a world that is fit for us all to thrive.
Interspecies Café is supported by Statens Kunstfond, Bygningsstyrelsen, and Roskilde University.
Sound engineer: Kruzh'em
Super Reef: A New Kind of Urbanism
Sometimes, the best way to care for other species is to collaborate with them on new projects. In that spirit, SUPERFLEX is working on a master plan to build at least 55 km2 of reef along the coast of Denmark. Super Reef is a large-scale collective undertaking involving scientists, fish, marine biologists, policy makers, local communities, and seagrasses. Together we can increase biodiversity, clean the air, boost the fish population, make art, and imagine forms of symbiotic living.
Over the last century, Denmark has lost huge areas of stone reef. Humans have extracted tons of stone for construction and coastal protection, decreasing biodiversity and leaving parts of the seabed as empty as a desert. Reefs are crucial partners in a flourishing world: not only do coastal ecosystems help prevent erosion, they have the potential to remove carbon dioxide from the air even more efficiently than terrestrial forests.
Because underwater creatures like variety, just as humans do, Super Reef will be constructed from a range of materials, from repurposed stones to specially-designed fish-friendly pink bricks. Acknowledging the importance of an interspecies perspective, SUPERFLEX is including marine life in both scientific and aesthetic decisions. Perhaps algae can tell us what they want, if only we learned to listen.
Humans built our cities with material taken from the ocean, and now we are developing a sculptural infrastructure to build cities for fish. Super Reef is a new kind of urbanism, premised on an expanded notion of collaboration and knowledge-sharing: between humans as well as between species.
Super Reef is a project derived from the Deep Sea Minding research which was originally supported by TBA21-Academy.
Vertical Migration and Pink Elements in MAAT, Lisbon
The works Pink Element no. 1/Revolving Corner, Pink Element no. 4/Penthouse, Pink Element no. 7/Corner District and Vertical Migration are currently part of the exhibition Aquaria – Or the Illusion of a Boxed Sea. The exhibition will open to the public in MAAT, Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology until September 6th 2021.
Aquaria is an exhibition that looks at how the ocean has washed up inside our cities, homes and cultural institutions, and questions how we have interiorised the notion of an ocean kingdom. Invented in the Victorian age, the aquarium as object embodies the nature/culture divide, and continues to constitute an ocean diorama, a self-contained world and a techno-natural assemblage, home to a living collection mirroring our own personal yet fictional marine world.
Curated by Angela Rui, the exhibition path unfolds through 11 installations by artists, designers, filmmakers, composers and researchers, each offering different points of view to emphasise how the ways of understanding the marine environment were once envisaged and how they should be reconsidered today.
Pink Elements consists of varying sculptural configurations of pink, coral-friendly bricks. The bricks are materially aligned with the needs of underwater creatures, and their pink colour is scientifically known to propagate coral polyp growth. Though angular in shape, each brick houses more organic forms within, porous enough for fish and other aquatic species to burrow.
The bricks are thus a work of architecture in their own right, but hold the potential to be reconfigured to suit human habitation. When presented on dry land in human spaces, the elements appear as stand-alone sculptural objects, or as structural fragments of existing human architecture – such as a corner or column. But when submerged in an aquatic environment, these structures will be repurposed by marine creatures. A pillar for humans today is a future penthouse for fish.
Pink Elements are based on the Deep Sea Minding research, supported by TBA21–Academy.
Interspecies Assembly SUPERFLEX x ART 2030
On World Wildlife Day, we are delighted to announce our upcoming collaboration with ART 2030: Interspecies Assembly
Against the backdrop of this critical moment of time – in which humans are waging war on nature, biodiversity is collapsing, and human activity is at the root of Earth’s descent towards chaos - Interspecies Assembly will mark the very first gathering of human and other species on earth, to address the future of our planet and promote interspecies dialogue and cooperation. The mission of Interspecies Assembly: to urgently lay the foundation for peace, harmony, and the right to a strong and sustainable future for all species on planet Earth. The project addresses today’s most urgent issue of protecting the diverse ecosystems and many forms of life across the planet, that are fundamental to global progress and achieving all Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
Further details of Interspecies Assembly to be announced.
Interspecies Assembly is supported by New Carlsberg Foundation, The Obel Family Foundation, TBA21– Academy, Beckett Fonden, and Danish Arts Foundation.
Our Relationship with this planet has had an enormous impact on its ecosystem, to the extent that we may soon reach the end of our journey. But this also means growth, new exchanges, and, with rising sea levels, the vertical migration of different and new life forms. Perhaps we should see this as an opportunity to reimagine one end as a new beginning.
Engagement with planetary challenges such as biodiversity loss goes beyond a scientific understanding of the phenomena; it requires a cultivation of care and an emotional connection. Great art can make us feel and connect to these complex issues: it can be the agency of change. Great art can affect course of history for all lives. And the time is now.
– Luise Faurschou, Founder and Director of ART 2030