Hidden in the Pacific Ocean lies the island of Nauru, once called ‘Pleasant Island’ by European explorers. Although its size makes it one of the smallest nations in the world, its history is both large and significant. Nauru is often seen as a parable for our current world. The island was severely impacted by the effects of colonization, capitalism, migration and ecological distress of which the consequences still linger today.
After the exhaustive exploitation of its natural resources, the island was left in economic and ecologic ruins. Today Nauru is most known for hosting Australian refugee detention centres in return for a large amount of Australian money. This sparked the government of Nauru to ban most journalists and researchers from entering the island in an effort to keep negative news from reaching the outside world. Meanwhile, the island risks being swallowed by the ocean as a result of the rising sea level.
Silke and Hannes were exceptionally allowed to enter the island for a couple of weeks in the summer of 2018. In this post-apocalyptic setting they try to capture the historical, ecological and humanitarian exhaustion of the island, and by extension of our entire planet. In Pleasant Island Silke and Hannes use their personal smartphones to navigate the spectator through audio and images from their research on Nauru. How to encounter the limitations of a world that is intent on endless growth? What idea of the future is left on Nauru and the rest of the world?
60 minutes / in English
by & with Silke Huysmans & Hannes Dereere dramaturge Dries Douibi sound mixing Lieven Dousselaere technical Anne Meeussen & Piet Depoortere production CAMPO coproduction Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Spring Festival Utrecht, Beursschouwburg, Kunstenwerkplaats Pianofabriek, Veem House For Performance, Spielart & De Brakke Grond residencies Beursschouwburg, De Grote Post, KAAP, Kunstencentrum Buda, Kunstenwerkplaats Pianofabriek, STUK & Veem House for Performance, LOD with the support of Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie & KAAP many thanks to all collocutors in Nauru