‘Supercargo: a Parable of Desire’ is a visual research project by Austrian artist Peter Moosgaard investigating new cargo cults, consumerist archetypes and global material culture. Moosgaard will work on his project in Siquijor island and will give a presentation at Silliman University, before heading to a remote island. In Davao City, he will conduct a series of workshops and will participate at a forum about cultural appropriation co-organized by The Unifiedfield Nomadic Artist-in-Residence Program with the Department of Anthropology, University of Philippines Mindanao. He will conclude his residency with a presentation at 98B COLLABoratory in Manila.
Peter Moosgaard lives and works in Vienna. Graduated in Digital Arts (MA) in 2012, he first studied Philosophy and Linguistics, and later Visual Media at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, Class Prof. Peter Weibel. He is a member of the international activist group WochenKlausur since 2007 and co-founded the experimental publishing Traumawien in 2010. Moosgaard works as a journalist, janitor and art teacher. He has had exhibitions and performances in Istanbul, Stockholm, Athens, Amsterdam, Berlin, Munich, Brussels, Basel and in 2015 he participated at Ars Electronica. Currently he is a PhD Candidate at the Academy of Fine Arts in Austria and his research focuses on cargo cults and shanzahi as global, postdigital strategies.
The Supercargo Archive has collected over 1700 examples of contemporary cargo.
Bauhaus Ayoke, an interview with Peter Moosgaard by the Marina Abramovic Institute about his residency project at The Unifiedfield Nomadic Artist In Residence Program in the Philippines.
Since 2009, Peter Moosgaard has been dealing with the cargo cults as a method for production and artistic appropriation. Technological devices, artworks and desirable consumer goods are rebuilt with natural materials. Engaging in a form of mimickry craft – a forgery of signals – a series of mobile sculptures will be produced. The sculptures will depict mock-ups of technological products and western commodities. In the practice he calls “Supercargo”, Moosgaard has rebuilt Segways, videoinstallations, drones, smartphones and particle accelerators from found footage. According to the mythology of Oceanic cargo cults, the replicas of western goods will summon a fantastic product: Supercargo.
“A revolutionary zeal similar to that of the classic cargo cults can be found in some parts of present-day Western and Asian societies, driven by an unprecedented frenzy of consumerism and clothed in the fantasies of personal fulfillment and social transformation.” – Ton Otto
The Cult of the Cargo, which is a revitalization movement characterized by the belief that ancestral spirits will bring back planes and wanted goods (cargo) and throw off oppressive customs and colonizers. It is belived to be in existence in the South Pacific region since the early 60ies. Various tribes started building enormous planes from bamboo, carving headphones and radios from wood. These ritual reconstructions are to entice planes into delivering divine goods. Natives had observed US-soldiers in the past performing certain “rituals“, miraculously receiving supplies from cargo planes. The cult is rooted in the belief of sympathetic magic, a ritual appropriation of codes. On a first glance, this could remind us of our own dealings in increasingly new and complex environments. On the ohter hand, the strategy also seems to work: ethnologists and tourists alike come in planes to visit the islands. The cult of the cargo
is our world exactly: we perform meaningless routines we call work, in hope for future cargo. The western world itself is a giant process of imitating things that somehow work: the longing for godlike goodies on the horizon, the usage of things we do not understand is seen as a big parable of desire.
*Project funded by BMUKK, NÖ Kultur, and Austrian Embassy Manila / Österreichische Botschaft Manila.