Western Rampart (2018) is a film work that blends visual poetry, magical realism and documentarism to challenge our notions of borders and boundaries, whether natural or artificial. The film is set in Vestvolden (Danish for “Western Rampart”), a 14 km long fortification complex in the southwest of Copenhagen. Built between 1888 and 1892, the unfinished system of fortifications is the largest in Denmark. Built to defend Copenhagen against foreign invasion, it has lain abandoned since the First World War. Nature has reclaimed the area and inhabits it today, with its vitality gradually eroding the human made structures.
Western Rampart negotiates boundaries both in terms of its subject matter and its form. Shifting between fact and fiction, it combines documentary footage with visually experimental and associative scenes. The camera lingers on the movements of animals and plants, in the macroscopic world and in the bird’s eye perspective that shows the extent of the fortifications. On the narrative level, it features a gigantic toadstool that engages in an existential dialogue with the ramparts. The mushroom tries to convince the walls of the continuous motion of life and to show how everything needs to change in order to flourish. The unyielding walls defend the necessity of borders in life, and claims that the mushroom too uses boundaries to protect itself from enemies. The mind-blowing nature movie makes us wonder if 65,000 tons of cement and Sisyphean willpower can vanquish an all-pervading, limitless organism. Is this all a beginning of the end or the beginning of something new?
Western Rampart is the latest cinematic work by SUPERFLEX. It was commissioned by KØS, the Danish museum of art in public spaces. The exhibition at Turku Art Museum has received support from the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture.
SUPERFLEX is an artist group founded by Jakob Fenger (b. 1968), Bjørnstjerne Christiansen (b. 1969) and Rasmus Nielsen (b. 1969) in 1993. Its members all live and work in Copenhagen. SUPERFLEX describe their projects as tools with which they explore power structures and the nature of globalisation and promote social and economic change. The projects are often based on locality and collaboration with practitioners outside the tradition art context, such as designers, engineers, business or marketing.