Colonial Surfer - The ReSearch is a project about the contemporary globalized world and power structures within the surf industry and its realm. Surfing is not just a sport but also culture, producer and distributor. In current discussions you hear about the post-colonial but the situation today is better described as neo-colonial. Surfers do travel a lot and sometimes to places unknown to other tourists. The way surfers behave and represent themselves in the adventures search of perfect waves has a lot in common with ancient colonizers and their roles. To surf maintain and conserve already existing structures. History.

Editor: Kristoffer Svenberg

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What do Adolf Hitler & Surfers have in common?

Surfing is a sport lead by and dominated by people within a privileged minority. The mainstream representation of a surfer is a white, rich and privileged man. Today surfers from former colonial powers and rich countries are surfing in the areas that used to be their colonies.

Some years ago I made a surf video that was showing at an art gallery. The video was built up by material from already existing mainstream contemporary surf movies. As a postproduction work I was editing those videos into a result that was showing everything from those flicks except the surfing and the waves. Left was something like a lifestyle material. This was made up mostly of portraits of surfers, surrounding landscapes and spectacular exotic images from different countries and cultures. Since surfing as an activity is taken away from the production it feels a bit abrasive. Through the concentrated form in the film, you get an idea about how this picture material is political.

The references I got from art critics was that it looked very similar to Leni Riefenstahls Triumph des Willens. I got told that the material was very much like the propaganda for Adolf Hitler and the Aryan race.

Cause if you deconstruct and analyze the filmed material from a typical surf video you get to understand that it is very similar in language as the propaganda used by the Nazis. A lot of photographs and filmed sequences from Leni Riefenstahl has the similar picture language as well. This was Adolf Hitlers favorite photographer.

This picture is taken from the surf organization Walking on Waters website. Christian surfers traveling the world while trying to bring people into conversion.