Superflex

01.14.09

Superflex, Flooded McDonald’s, 2008, stills from a color film, 20 minutes.


The international projects by the Danish collective Superflex engage alternative-energy production, community organizing, and what they commonly term “countereconomic strategies.” For their first solo exhibition in London, opening January 16 at South London Gallery, they will present a new film, Flooded McDonald’s.

THIS WORK IS one of our first forays into filmmaking. Although we’ve previously used film and photography to document our projects, Flooded McDonald’s incorporates a more general cinematic approach. It may at times seem like a documentary, because it follows the actual flooding of a replica of a generic McDonald’s, but it might also feel like a television commercial or disaster movie in slow motion.

Burning Car [2007] was our first film; it captures a car on fire in a single long take. We consider it a response to a series of recent activities in Western Europe––riots that looked like small civil wars, during which many cars were burned. In France, these riots were mostly in the suburbs, where the youth were reacting to specific situations based on domestic policies, the changing constellations of people living in their country, and immigration issues. At the time, there were multiple news reports about the cars, but the media would never really discuss the reasons behind these actions. Instead, there was just a widespread public fascination surrounding the cars’ burning and how wild it was to see it all over. There have been similar situations in Copenhagen; we have had burning cars outside our office here in the center of the city. The film is, in a sense, a comment on these activities, but it’s also part of a larger project of “symbolic” films we’re working on, which uses cinematic models and tries not to emphasize anything too specific.

Flooded McDonald’s is our second film, and among the issues that it examines are the consequences of consumerism on an individual level. Often, society likes to locate a scapegoat for the negative effects of consumerism, such as multinational companies or politicians who are not able to deal with, say, carbon-dioxide emissions. For this film, we wanted to create an understanding of its effects on a more private register. The film is not a direct critique of McDonald’s. Consumers want to eat the chain’s products, and they become addicted to products and ideologies. McDonald’s is really an icon for the type of consumerism that has wide-ranging environmental, social, and economic consequences.

The film will travel to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in September. We are in the process of proposing different models for circulating the work, as standard channels for film and visual-art distribution can be very difficult in terms of public accessibility and rights. We’re trying to see if these films can be disseminated in visual-art as well as film markets.

— As told to Lauren O’Neill-Butler