Desert X Biennial 2019: Superflex

The title of artist collective Superflex’ Desert X artwork is a play with words: Dive-In, referring to the fact that the Coachella Valley has been underwater 6 million years ago, as well as to the extinction of the outdoor movie theater. Here’s the project description:

It was the unexpected discovery of an abundance of fossilized marine life more than 100 miles inland from the Pacific shore that led the early Spanish settlers to name this valley Conchilla, which means “little shell.” Because of a mis-spelling the region became known as the Coachella Valley, thereby stripping it of the reminder that 6 million years ago, what is now desert had been underwater and connected to the so-called Western Interior Seaway. For the Danish collective Superflex, geological history and the not-so-distant future meet in the recognition that with global warming, rising water levels will again submerge the landscape along with all the structure and infrastructure that made it habitable for humans. Rethinking architecture from the point of view of future submersion, their mission has been to create land-based forms equally attractive to human and marine life. Using the preferred color palettes of Walter and Leonore Annenberg, Palm Springs, and marine corals, Dive-In merges the recognition that global warming will drastically reshape the habitat of our planet with another more recent extinction: the outdoor movie theater. Here the interests of desert dwellers and sea life come together in the coral-like walls and weekly screenings of a structure born of a deep past and shallow future.

Superflex (Denmark, founded 1993) is an artist collective consisting of Jakob Fenger, Rasmus Nielsen, and Bjørnstjerne Christiansen that creates projects known as “tools,” which the artists intend to be actively used, encouraging communities to participate in and further develop the projects to alter their socio-economic contexts. Their work often manifests as large-scale installations meant for long-term use and subversive investigation of ideas of economic forces and social structures.

–– Right-click (Mac: ctrl-click) this link to download Quicktime video file.

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