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10/09/2016 – 25/09/2016

Participating artist(s) Channa Boon, Daan Gerla, Hannah Dawn Henderson, Jan Huijben, Anna Moreno, Jeroen Nooter, Sara Pape Garcia, Evelina Rajca, Fazle Shairmahomed, Tom Verbruggen, Thom Vink

“CAPITALOCEAN focuses strongly on the socio-ideological side of histories. We continuously emerge at the question of how to orientate and organize ourselves in the present moment, which is always already saturated in established currents of capital. Excavating sand, we produce an undercurrent that tries to move towards an alternate direction but invariably points to the inexistence of future imaginations. As vacuous as waiting for sea sparkle. It is easier to imagine an apocalyptic end of the world than the end of capitalism.”

CAPITALOCEAN evolves from a series of public events that took place in July and August 2016 at the beach of Scheveningen. The intervention is initiated by Sara Pape and unfolded with artists, musicians, scientists and dancers who joined her in a symbolic act of waiting for the arrival of sea sparkle, a natural and unpredictable phenomenon produced by bio-luminescent microorganisms whereby the sea acquires a fluorescent glow. The events were scheduled to coincide with the lunar cycle (in each full and new moon) where the group shared performances, workshops, and presentations.

Our ability to predict the exact time of arrival of sea sparkle is limited by the sensitivity of ecosystem dynamics to the initial ecosystem state. The minutest difference between our knowledge of the system state and the actual state will make its development and our prediction of it diverge more and more as we try to predict further into the future. This phenomenon is generally known as the butterfly effect, which says that even if exact knowledge allows for an exact prediction, approximate knowledge does not necessarily allow for an approximate prediction. This limited predictability also limits our ability to manipulate the system to achieve a certain outcome, because the effect of our inferences are unpredictable as well. However, lunar phase and the tides can be predicted with high accuracy into the far future, enabling the group to meet every full and new moon.

The title of the intervention is a deviation from the concept “Capitalocene”, coined by sociologist Jason W. Moore among others. Moore is a key figure in the World-Ecology Research Network, an international grouping of scholars and activists committed to making nature central to the study of historical change, and to an understanding of capitalism as at the heart of all such change over the last half-millennium. As Earth‘s resources move into a halt, we seem to be entering a new era in which the socio-economic relations will be re-distributed according to the ever-increasing scarcities, natural and social disasters, and the need to re-negotiate the terms of our contract with nature. Since speculation over coal and petrol has defined the way society functions, some consider that the Anthropocene does not quite fit as a title for our epoch, and propose instead the term Capitalocene, which supposes a shift of perspective towards capital (or the gambling over what is left to conquer).

Without prescribed instructions as to how the group must engage with one another, CAPITALOCEAN evolved as its own form. This is how the group has investigated the potentiality of self-regulation: just as the tide reconfigures the structures upon which it cascades through gradual erosion and the redistribution of matter, the artists have paralleled this movement with economical and political shifts.

In the exhibition space you will be able to see works that depart from the process initiated during the events at the beach, but also works produced beforehand that are close to the concept of the project as a whole. Departing from predictability, some of the works appear as re-imaginings of form and futurity: how can we understand the most basic laws of nature or even those culturally accepted ones in a post-apocalyptic scenario where those previous constructs have been partially forgotten? Other works delve into the negotiation of bodies and capital, by physically reversing the human gaze and questioning the anthropocentric discourse, or by literally complicating the access of the viewer to the exhibition. Similarly, other works spring from the desire to locate narratives obliterated by the transit of time and power: When dealing with a time frame longer than the average human lifespan such as the life of a mountain, we are left with a linguistic incongruence. This has brought us to the misuse of natural phenomena such as the physics of equilibrium to legitimate certain theories about the self-regulated market.

This project is generously supported by Stroom Den Haag and Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst


  • The opening is on the 9th of September 20:00 – 01:00 With a performance by Fazle Shairmahomed in collaboration with Ji Youn Kang, followed by a perfomance by Toktek (Tom Verbruggen).
  • On the 18th of September there will be a screening of the film ‘Et in Arcadia Ego’ (2015) by Channa Boon ”Propaganda is het sterkste en belangrijkste wapen van onze partij en onze strijd, en in deze strijd is de beeldende kunst de infanterie, en de bioscoop de luchtmacht.” This quote of Joseph Stalin was one of the inspirations for the film Et in Arcadia Ego by Channa Boon.
  • On 24th of September CAPITALOCEAN will host a public debate, in collaboration with Kunstvlaai CAPITALOCEAN will host a public debate, in collaboration with Kunstvlaai. In between the debate CAPITALOCEAN will perform a piece that centers around the concept of visibility. A number of people in the field, both artists and representatives of several art institutions, will address the role and consequences of visibility in a public debate at W139. Not only the negative consequences will be discussed, but also the space that can be created when artists or organizations decide not to submit to leading strategies regarding visibility. How do you actively give shape to your own future, and what are interesting visions on this future?
    Confirmed speakers
    Gavin Wade – Eastside Projects, Birmingham
    Marnie Slater – All the Cunning Stunts / Buenos Tiempos, Int.
    Kees van Gelder – Galerie van Gelder, Amsterdam
    Tom Clark (Arcadia Missa, London) & Lucy Lopez (Jupiter Woods, London) – BAK, Utrecht
    Anami Schrijvers – W139, Amsterdam
    Dorine van Meel – Southern Summer School
    Anna Moreno – Participating artist of the current W139 exhibition CAPITALOCEAN
    Frank Keizer – Samplekanon
    The public debate will take place on the 24th of September, from 14:00 – 21:30. Dinner is served!
    For more information, please visit: Kunstvlaai