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Govett-Brewster Art Gallery presents SUPERFLEX

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery presents SUPERFLEX

One of the most innovative art collectives in the world is to present lectures in Auckland and New Plymouth later this month.

Danish collective SUPERFLEX, founded by Bjørnstjerne Christiansen, Jakob Fenger and Rasmus Nielsen in Copenhagen in 1997, moves art beyond gallery walls and into the realm of social culture and political activism with a dynamic array of projects ranging from puddings to biogas units to television channels.

"The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and the Danish Contemporary Art Foundation are delighted to present members of Superflex to New Zealand and expose further audiences throughout the country to their amazingly innovative practice," said Gallery Director Greg Burke.

"The many Superflex projects have a real sense of social interaction and cooperation. Self-organisation and self-responsibility form both model and motivation for devising incredible socially oriented projects between large corporations and community development groups," said Mr Burke.

New Zealand audiences were recently introduced to Superflex in the exhibition Arcadia: the other life of video games at New Plymouth's Govett-Brewster Art Gallery from 10 May to 13 July. The major work entitled Counter-strike recreated a modern day video game arcade in the Gallery that featured the popular online team based counter-terrorist computer game of the same name. The game environment proved extremely popular with a young audience that would not ordinarily venture into an art gallery.

The installation was an experiment that paired the team strategies needed to play Counter-strike with documentaries of collective social and political movements,

Superflex are currently exhibiting in the project Utopia Station at the 2003 Venice Biennale, and a recent project took the artists to the Amazon basin to build a workable relationship between major multi-national corporations and Brazilian guarana farmers.

The artists will discuss two recent interactive projects - SUPERCHANNEL and SUPERGAS.

SUPERCHANNEL is a public access television network used by communities as a gathering place and platform for broadcast discussion. Started as an experiment in a Copenhagen art gallery, the project has grown to feature over 20 studios in different locations throughout the world.

SUPERGAS is a collaborative project that began in Mozambique in 1996 between Superflex and Danish and African engineers in the construction of portable biogas units producing sufficient gas for the cooking and lighting needs of third world families. The plant converts gas from organic materials such as human and animal waste, into an energy source. Forming the corporation Supergas Ltd, the artists in collaboration with business partners have been able to produce and market a biogas unit affordable enough to be effective throughout the third world.

"Even though economy was the key focus for the project, the biogas units are produced in the patented SUPERFLEX colour with consideration for the design aspect of the unit," said Mr Burke.

"Research indicates that even third world families are influenced by consumer aspiration: they will accept social initiatives much faster if they are appealing."

Superflex will speak at:

The Gus Fisher Gallery, University of Auckland, 6.00pm Thursday September 18

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth 6.00pm Monday 22 September

SUPERFLEX/ TOOLS has been supported by the Danish Contemporary Art Foundation. Superflex are presented in Auckland in partnership with the Gus Fisher Gallery and the exhibition Extra lives, a selection of works from the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery exhibition Arcadia: the other life of video games.

Superflex will be available for interviews in Auckland from 16 to 19 September and New Plymouth from 20 to 22 September.

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