Colonial Surfer - STNC 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

Thursday, August 29, 2019

SECULAR SURFACE - Surfing The Nations / TEXT



In 1936, Walter Benjamin wrote the classic and often referenced text The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. Boris Groys has more recent written Religion in the age of digital reproduction (2009).
The philosopher and the artist Groys writes, among other things, that religion and conspiracy theories are two things that really benefit from the Internet and the network community. He believes that the spread and rise of these have increased significantly with our digitized era. Religion is facing a renaissance through digital social media. New forms of religion and religiosity are being developed.

The Internet in its structure benefits private, unconditional and sovereign freedom before scientific, conditional, institutional freedom, or sharing of legitimized viewpoints and perspectives. It is the unconditional and not proven information that can more easily and without resistance spread through the Internet. I also want to point out that this goes on in the market-liberal economy. It is information that in a superficial way fits easier within different situations, this is because it’s not regulated and therefore becomes more fast-formulated. It becomes competitive in spite of its major shortcomings, and Groys’ declares it as survival of the fittest in accordance with a Darwinist perspective. It finds favorable positions, diversity of positions, precisely through how it is not anchored and thus can move unlimitedly. 

(…)


During the prayer meeting, I placed a camera next to me and pressed the record button. It captures sound while standing and filming sneakily. Some minutes later, we do a prayer in which we pray for getting blessed with photographs and video material that will spread our message.

(…)

The reason for my work as a missionary for Surfing The Nations is that I see it as a performance work part of my art practice. There is nobody in place who knows about my intentions. My role could possibly be described in other ways than an artist. I'm there as a surfer. I'm there as a missionary. I'm there as an anthropologist. I'm there as a tourist. I'm there as a journalist. At the same time, none of these roles are true.

(…)

When I’m leaving the church and the area I feel a bit bestial. I write bestial (a beast) here with a link to how artists work with a context in real life, and then symbolically cannibalize on it to talk about something else. It’s a consumption of meaning, consumption of the environment and the people in order to be used as a representation. A violence that is close to hand within photographic and recording techniques. During our fairly personal conversation, I had placed a sound recorder switched on in a textile bag. Did I lie to this priest, I ask myself then? The priest who even may have baptized me at exactly on this spot in Onsala.

Honesty is honored within Christianity. You shall be true to yourself and you must be true to God. Within surf culture, it is important to be genuine and authentic. You are supposed to do things for real. Otherwise, you're just a poser.




(…)



Renovation

Monday, August 19, 2019

Surf-DNA & bloodlines in Gagosian gallery. Why?


Why is one of the largest and fancier galleries in the world doing an exhibition on a surf family?

Why is Gagosian doing an exhibition with #fletcherDNA as the hashtag and the overall title: The Fletcher Family – A Lifetime in Surf? The exhibition is on Madison Avenue in New York. Vice Magazine has been writing this about the skateboarder Greyson Fletcher who is the youngest guy in the family: ”Greyson is more than just a skater, he´s the fourth generation of a bloodline that has produced some of the most influential surfers ever. ” I´m questioning. What does this have to do with art at all? Is this art?; Four generations of great surfers in a family.


When I saw the surf film Last Name First from 2010, I got into similar thoughts on how being a great surfer is rather about situation, circumstances, environment, and privileges than about the DNA and bloodlines. Last Name First is a surf-film only featuring professional surfers who are brothers. I don’t believe that some people are natural-born surfers. And to do an art-exhibition with that as a score focusing on family and #fletcherDNA is something I find strange, conservative & also very problematic. As well it is superficial and lacks criticality.

You need to be in a situation that allows you to spend a lot of time surfing waves instead of doing other things to become a professional surfer. I dare to say that being a surfer is a matter of class. And I would say that the surf scene is taking place in similar upper-class environments like golf, sailing, and art.

You can make art out of surfing as a subject or material. You can do art out of any material and subject, but to be a great surfer is about being a great surfer. To say that it´s the same thing as being a great artist is naive.

The practice of the artist . . . is no different than that of the surfer, who inscribes his or her self in the ocean—a bigger canvas could not be engaged, defining their humanity in the most personal way, using themselves to draw their lifelines through the massive fleeting freedom of that power. The power and majesty of the sea—Herbie shared that with me and with my family as well as his own.

—Julian Schnabel




Wave surfing is originally a Polynesian sport and tradition with its first historical beginning in Hawaii. It’s being told that Hawaiians themselves mainly described and focused on surfing as an art form integrated into their culture. In addition, some who tell the story says that the first and most surfers were women. When missionaries from Scotland and Germany arrived in Hawaii in 1821, they banned and downplayed a number of Polynesian traditions and cultural practices. This also included wave surfing. The number of active surfers were limited to very few and surfing as an art form was about to completely die out.

Surfing as a cultural phenomenon back then was something different from how it is today. In the contemporary situation surfing is more mainstream, an ideal and something commercial more globally. To say that surfing is automatically art within the contemporary art-scene is conservative.

A Lifetime in surf is a celebration of a book with the same title about the Fletcher family. It is written by Dibi Fletcher, and with no further explanation is Dibi Fletcher being called the matriarch of surfing´s first family by her Husband Herbie and media. Mentioned about the book is also surfing as a counterculture from 1950s until today. How surfing has the possibility of both being viewed upon as counterculture and mainstream culture at the same time is interesting and something of a mystery. No matter how popular surfing is surfers consider themselves alternative and counterculture. I haven't read the book yet but will do soon.

Surfing is great fun and amazing! But it is not art just like that. And it’s not about bloodlines or DNA.

https://gagosian.com/exhibitions/2019/the-fletcher-family-a-lifetime-in-surf/



Great surf spots!

1. Green/yellow, Dutch Empire. 2. Red, Portugese Empire.