European Society for Oceanists 2015 Conference : Other activities

Moana – The Rising of the Sea

Viage Theatre, Brussels, Thursday 25 June at 21:00 hours (doors open at 20:00)

For anyone who lives on an island, surrounded by the deep, beautiful yet dangerous sea, it is a cruel thought that one day the island will be swallowed by the ocean. For the inhabitants of the tropical Pacific islands, this is about to happen. Global climate change makes the sea rise and the land disappear. How does it feel when the sea forces you to abandon all that you hold dear? What does the threat from climate change mean to the island societies and the families who live on the islands of Oceania?


Written, directed, and perfomed by Pacific Islanders, Moana – The Rising of the Sea is an intense declaration of love to the natures and cultures of the Pacific, and a call for the world to think and act in these challenging times for Oceania. Through dance, song, music and film, 29 dancers and singers of the Oceania Dance Theatre and the Pasifika Voices choir (resident ensembles at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji) share emotions and experiences not so easily captured by the written and spoken words of reports and official meetings. The performance at the Viage Theatre on 25 June is the final show in a month-long European Tour that includes Bergen, St Andrews, Copenhagen, and the European Parliament in Brussels.


 A production by ECOPAS and the University of the South Pacific’s Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies


Funded by the European Union (ECOPAS Grant No 32098, FP7)


Performed by Oceania Dance Theatre & Pasifika Voices

Vilsoni Hereniko Producer & original story

Peter Rockford Espiritu Director & choreographer

Tuilagi Igelese Ete Musical director, original score & music

Tuilagi Seiuli Allan Alo Va’ai Original lyrics, cultural specialist and protocol

Edvard Hviding Executive producer, European Tour 2015


The European Tour of Moana: The Rising of the Sea in 2015 is a collaborative effort by ECOPAS, the University of Bergen, the University of the South Pacific, the Bergen International Festival, the European Parliament, ESfO, and other sponsors in Europe.


“Moana is more than a representation of a cultural artifact or historical moment; it is a living entity that ebbs and flows in the process of becoming with each person who experiences it. What is obvious is that the sea is rising. What is not so obvious is how deeply the confrontation with performance can change a person’s thoughts and sentiments and has the potential to change a community—local, national, or regional—by shifting some of the grounds of the discourse about climate.”
Professor Kara Miller in The Contemporary Pacific

Bottled Ocean 2114

Conference venue, Brussels, 24-27 June 

This project is part of the ESfO conference


During the conference, the New Zealand Māori sculptor and artist George Nuku will work on this project in the lobby of the Thon Hotel. He will be making a floating island and a canoe of plexiglass.

From his art catalogue: “The polar ice caps are melting, the world is undergoing a process of chemical mutation through the over-exploitation of fossil fuels, creating global warming and climate change, and with the increasing dominance of plastic which now permeates life on earth on every level. To contain, package, and supply the world’s drinking water, plastic bottles are now a vital and necessary fact of life for humans in the 21st century. This artwork attempts to capture this possible near future scenario in order to point out to audiences just how close we really are to this.

The key component to this idea is the plastic drinking bottle – transformed into works of art and cultural treasures. I believe by doing this, we create divinity and genealogical connectivity to the plastic and the plastic to us. This artwork is a scenario of the world without land, without trees, without the majority of living creatures.”

George Nuku was initially invited to create this idea for 'Pulima Art Awards' at the Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei by Ting Wei Lin of The Indigenous Peoples Cultural Foundation. Since then he has created and exposed this art performance in several locations around the world.

In Brussels, Nuku is co-presenting with the director of the Museum of Rouen, Sebastien Minchin. Their working relationship of over 4 years has culminated in the 'Bottled Ocean’ and 'Plastic continent' ideas and creations currently being explored and developed.

Sebastien Minchin will present a short but varied presentation of the activities, including the restitution project, advances in conservation and preservation plus the long term 'Gallery of continents' project with its involvement from Oceanic artists and cultural practitioners from Aotearoa/NZ, PNG and Indonesia.

The follow-on from this examines and explores the notion of the final continent of plastic and its impact.

George Nuku stresses that this working relationship has helped shape, form and influence his current art practice.

Ethnographic Films Screening

by Further Arts - Tommy Dick

Saturday June 24 14:00 - Oslo II

Lon Marum

(Dir: Chief Filip Talevu and Soraya Hosni)

Produced in full collaboration with communities on Ambrym and Tanna in Vanuatu, Lon Marum is a TV-hour length documentary film depicting the relationship between language, culture, place, music, tradition, and magic – in the context of life on an active volcano. Lon Marum was a finalist in the Asia Pacific New Documentary Program (2013), and In Competition for the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. It features an original score by ni-Vanuatu composer Marcel Meltherorong.

42 mins

Saturday June 24 15:00 - Oslo II

Vanuatu Women's Water Music

(Dir: Tim Cole)

The performers of the Vanuatu Women’s Water Music group hail from the remote northern tropical islands of Gaua and Merelava in Vanuatu. They travel the world performing the Na Mag and Ne Leang dances as a prelude to the water music. The Water Music of Vanuatu is a performance that needs to be seen (and heard) to be believed. This incredible film shuns Western/European narrative concepts. Instead it adopts a contemporary style of its own: Art Doco. The result is a non-narrative meditation on indigenous performance and representation. It has received 5-star review from Songlines Magazine (UK) and is described as "absolutely perfect" and "visually stunning as well as culturally important".

62 mins