Superflex's "We Are All in the Same Boat" Floods a McDonald's for Community Awareness

Courtesy of Superflex
To enact positive and lasting change in a society, everyone needs to participate. Superflex, an artist collective based in Denmark, brings that point of view to Miami in "We Are All in the Same Boat," an exhibit addressing climate change, immigration, and corruption, at Miami Dade College’s Museum of Art + Design.

“Everyone has the power to enact change. They have the power to change the conditions and systems that they are a part of," says Bjørnstjerne Christiansen, one of the three artists of Superflex, along with Jakob Fenger and Rasmus Nielsen. "If one looks at the self as a practicing and participatory citizen, they can do this by standing up and making proposals, not only rejecting them and saying no, but proposing ideals, models, and versions of life. [This] reflects how we see ourselves as artists. Our understanding of our role in society is that we are given space, time, and opportunities to present models and ideas of different power systems and how the world works.”

"We Are All in the Same Boat," curated by Jacob Fabricius, is a survey of the artist collective, including 11 works ranging from 2008 to the present day. Consisting of diverse media such as film, installation, and painting, the exhibit takes its title from local as well as global aspects of life. “It’s a well-known phrase, and the reason for choosing it as the overall show title is that quite a few of the works are dealing with immigration, economic systems, the ocean, corruption, and power systems,” Christiansen says.

"We Are All in the Same Boat" is also the name of one of the pieces, a large blue illuminated signboard that was developed for a competition for the exterior of the Royal Caribbean terminal in Port Miami. “[The phrase is] also about traveling, being somewhere else, exploring, and seeing something constantly," Christiansen explains. "We are all in the same boat, whatever level we are in society and where we are in the world. When we’re in the shore, we have the same dreams about going somewhere.”
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Courtesy of Superflex
Several of the pieces in the show were created for Miami audiences. In the painting series Euphoria Now, a playful reference to the film title Apocalypse Now, the artists designed the backgrounds based on the color schemes of Latin American currencies. Another work, the 2009 short film Flooded McDonalds, is not site-specific but references Miami’s future reality.

“We made a 1:1 [model] of a McDonald’s restaurant, and in the last 20 minutes, you see the McDonald’s restaurant flood until it’s totally submerged," Christiansen describes. “Climate change is more and more on everyone’s mind and thoughts, and also aspects of private consumerism and the consequences of it.”

The show will also include Lost Money, an installation that will trick your eye as you walk through the gallery, and The Corrupt Show, an immersive experience that asks visitors to sign a contract and participate in illicit, albeit harmless, activities. There will even be a retail intervention, titled Free Shop, taking place at storefronts in Miami, where a business will unassumingly provide its goods free of charge to customers as part of the Superflex show.

This diverse art show with an activist's edge is meant to inspire, thrill, and entertain visitors, Christiansen says. “I hope they come with an open mind, and they can use parts of our work and take it on, copy it, adapt it, and modify it to their own thinking and practice... You can also come and enjoy a beautiful film like Flooded McDonalds, which is an opportunity to slow down the tempo. Let us take you on a journey and see what happens.”

"We Are All in the Same Boat." Opening reception 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, November 15, at Miami Dade College Museum of Art + Design, Freedom Tower, 600 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-237-7700; On display November 15 through April 21, 2019. Museum admission ranges from free to $12.
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Minhae Shim Roth is an essayist, journalist, and academic.
Contact: Minhae Shim Roth