The Vanuatu Pacifica Foundation & Tanna Centre for the Arts

For centuries, the Naihné People of Tanna have lived on this island in Vanuatu's southern-most province, Tafea. In late 2009, their leadership invited Paul D. Miller (aka DJ Spooky) to form an artists retreat within their remote eastern territory. In early 2011, Vanuatu Pacifica Foundation will begin building Tanna Center for the Arts in this beautiful and isolated part of the island. The artists retreat will function as a carbon negative, culturally supportive demonstration model, incorporating a digital media lab and island-restorative education center to aid the goals expressed by the people of this tropical paradise.

The New Economics Foundation inaugural Happy Planet Index of 2006 studied 178 nations and determined the inhabitants of Vanuatu's archipelago to be the "Happiest People on Earth." Yet, the Tannese's daily confrontation with contemporary changes in cultural, economic and climate stability threaten the traditions of village life. Such changes have fueled investigation of modern society and culture. Through Art, we hope to engage this curiosity born of necessity on Tanna and meet it with our own desire to know and value their way of life.

Want to Help Develop a Culture and Climate-Sensitive Project?

The Tanna Center for the Arts proposes to foster an equal exchange of ideas and activities between the cultures of Oceania and the international arts community while working to rebuild a local living economy that retains youth and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK).

In support and service to the local communities, we are designing plans to generate our own energy, through renewable resources, grow our own food, process wastes, collect water and offer education in both high and low tech solutions that work in accord with local culture and geography.

Our goals include:
  1. Engaging art to build dialogue between communities on the island and the international art world.
  2. Sharing expertise around digital & renewable technologies that sustain island ecology, economy and culture.
  3. Using Contemporary Art as a context in which participants sample, remix and reconstruct a balanced society, blending 21 Century technology with the islanders’ Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK).
  4. Giving visiting artists and thinkers the ideal environment in which to create & further their work.

Founder's Statement

In 2009 I spent about 8 weeks in the South Pacific and I really fell in love with the region. So much that I decided to accept an offer to develop several acres of land facing the beach on Tanna in the island nation of Vanuatu.

Oceania is a huge area of the South Pacific that contains myriad cultures which predate most of the civilizations of the rest of the world. It's region is a quilt of radically different cultures and ethnicities. And that's what drew me.

One afternoon I met one of the region's respected figures, Isso Kapum, and his father, Jack Kapum, who is Chief of the Naihné on Tanna. They invited me to become a 'Tanna-Man.' I ended up hanging out with several local i.e. 'tribal' groups on the island and was really blown away by their warmth, friendliness and wisdom. The Ni-Vanuatans have consistently been described as the "happiest people on Earth." If you come check out their islands, you can see why.

I felt that a lot of people in Asia, Africa, South America, the US and Europe never get a chance to see something like the beauty of Vanuatu, so I decided to open up a retreat on part of the property. I hope you can join us as we begin to set up this project, and watch it evolve from an idea to a fully functional, high tech artist retreat and center for the arts in one of the most beautiful parts of the South Pacific.

Help us set this artist retreat up!

In peace,
Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky, NY 2010

Board of Advisors


'The Departing Island' by Iain Crichton Smith

It is the island that goes away, not we who leave it.
Like an unbearable thought it sinks beyond
assiduous reasoning light and wringing hands,
or, as a flower roots deep into the ground,
it works its darkness into the gay winds
that blow about us in a later spirit.

Part 3 from A Life:
Our landmark is the island, complex thing.
A rock, a death, a house in which were made
our narrow global seaward-going wings,
the rings of blue, the cloth both fine and frayed.
It sails within us, as one poet said,
its empty shelves are resonant. A scant
religion drives us to our vague tremens.

We drag it at our heels, as iron chains.
A winsome boyhood among glens and bens
casts, later, double images and shades.
And ceilidhs in the cities are the lens
through which we see ourselves, unmade, remade,
by music and by grief. The island sails
within us and around us. Startled we
see it in Glasgow, hulk of the humming dead,
and of the girls in cornfields disarrayed.

both from New Collected Poems by Iain Crichton Smith, published this month by Carcanet.
cover image: Marion MacPhee, Sound of Shiant (monotype, 2002).

The Nauru Elegies by DJ Spooky & Annie K. Kwon

The Nauru Elegies:
The Idea of an Island

DJ Spooky has teamed up with Annie K Kwon as part of the big media art biennial (Experimenta) 2009 to bring you a multimedia portrait of the island of Nauru, entitled ‘The Nauru Elegies: A Portrait in Sound and Hypsographic Architecture. The musical component of the Nauru Elegies "reflects colonial and postcolonial issues facing the digital economy of the 21st century translated into a string quartet, composed by Paul D. Miller/DJ Spooky," while the architectural component conceptualized by Annie K. Kwon "spatializes and formalizes otherwise invisible economic flows and irreversible ecological devastation."

'As Man stands to Nature, so stands Art to Man.’
Richard Wagner, Das Kunstwerk der Zukunft (The Artwork of the Future) 1849

Project Description: The Republic of Nauru is a small island in the South Pacific Ocean. It is the world's smallest independent state and, at its core, represents a place at the most remote extreme of the planet. Its seemingly utopic geography and landscape stages a dystopic economy and society. It was, by consensus of several “Great Powers”, used as a raw resource until there was literally, nothing left. Nauru has been mined throughout the last two centuries for its phosphate deposits, which occupied 90% of the island. In the 1980s, phosphate exports briefly gave Nauruans one of the highest per capita incomes in the Third World. It is anticipated that the phosphate reserves will be completely exhausted before 2050. Despite this, the unemployment rate currently stands at 90%.

As a small territory with no exploitable resources, in the 1990’s Nauru turned to off-shore financing, and the creation of “virtual banks” as a way of earning sorely needed foreign currency. As such, it mirrors the off-shore island economies of The Cayman Islands, and continental havens like Luxembourg and Switzerland. As the Soviet Union collapsed, hundreds of billions of dollars “vanished” through the digital networks of the global financial system through places like Nauru, to re-appear in banks all over the world as “clean money.” For further information, view Jack Hitt’s December 10, 2000 article in the New York Times “The Billion-Dollar Shack

The Nauru Elegies project looks at the combination of unique qualities that make a remote place like Nauru a core member of the 21st century global economy: It explores an island in a state of environmental collapse caused by deep seated financial irregularities, and how they affected the landmass of the island to the point of devastation. The Nauru Elegies posits that Nauru is a reflection site of many of the issues facing our contemporary information economy. The music component of the Nauru Elegies reflects colonial and postcolonial issues facing the digital economy of the 21st century translated into a string quartet, composed by Paul D. Miller/DJ Spooky, while the literary and multimedia component of the project spatializes and formalizes otherwise invisible economic flows and irreversible ecological devastation. Based on Miller’s explorations of the island, and his readings of texts like the economist Raj Patel’s economic treatise “The Value of Nothing,” Jared Diamond’s “Collapse,” Aldous Huxley’s last novel “Island,” Michel Houellebecq’s novel “The Possibility of an Island” (La Possibilité d'une île, 2005), Paul Virilio’s “The Aesthetics of Disappearance” and other historical texts, Miller has fashioned an “acoustic portrait” of the island. At heart, the Nauru Elegies is an art installation that explores the linkages between music composition, information structures based on economics, and new forms of GPS based locational media (architecture and design are also components) in collision with local infrastructure of an island in radical environmental collapse. The “Nauru Elegies” explores the uneasy tension between local versus global financial markets, and how they translate into aesthetics. In the “Nauru Elegies” a new digital media architecture reclaims an “autonomous zone” in the hyper-networked systems of global finance that contemporary life calls home.

Tax and data havens are black holes in the global financial system, and Nauru represented a place where a vast amount of finance “disappeared” into the mega-structures of the global financial markets. Nauru Elegies represents a virtual territory at a culmination of global currents, and creates music compositions that reflect that kind of virtuality.

The poet Goethe and the philosopher Schelling both once wrote: “architecture is nothing but frozen music.” The Nauru Elegies asks what happens if we reverse engineer that process through on-site recordings and footage translated through the prism of music and architectural form? The end result is an installation and music composition that blur the lines between what an artist creates and how a composer engages the 21st century’s information economy.

Technical write-up: 'The Nauru Elegies' is a technical synthesis of a live string ensemble, projected high-definition video footage, digital animation and live internet feed of GPS coordinates of specific aspects of the island and its physical and financial infrastructure. It is an orchestration of content retrieved and processed in multiple localities including research in New York City and documentation in Nauru. The “Elegies” are a statement of technology and media processes in the 21st century that is exponentially progressing to a more dematerialized and delocalized state.

Nick Mangan, Nauru, Notes from a Cretaceous World

Nauru, notes from a cretaceous world, 2010

Ink on paper
87 x 65cm

Nauru, notes from a cretaceous world, 2010


Dowiyogo's ancient coffee coral table, 2010

Coral lime stone
46 x 140 x 85cm

Dowiyogo's ancient coffee coral table, 2010


29 July 2010 - 28 August 2010, Sutton Gallery, Australia

Nick Mangan, Nauru, Notes from a Cretaceous World

Nauru, Notes from a Cretaceous World, follows Nick Mangan's second expedition to Nauru and digs deeper into the phosphate nation, surfacing relics of a redundant industry and examining the barren surreal landscape. Mixing sculpture, found objects, documentary style video footage, and more stylized filmic elements, this body of work reflects on the complex socio-political history of the small Pacific island of Nauru, a once lush and self-sustainable atoll which has plunged into financial and environmental destitution over the past two decades.

Mangan has taken on a curious proposal put forward by Bernhard Dowiyogo, the late Nauruan president, to rescue the nation's economy by turning the island's mined rock pinnacles into coral coffee tables, as a cue for the project. Nauruan rock, embodies the evolution of excrement to phosphate rich coral to its current barren form. Mangan's conscious re-staging of this exploitative appropriation in a contemporary context pinpoints a shift in Nauru's value as a source of mineral rich phosphate, to a potential site of authenticity. With their porous surfaces and curved edge, the materiality of Mangan's coffee tables does not only reference the social, financial and cultural turmoil endured, but physically mimics the contoured coastline of this petite island nation and its eroded, broken landscape.

With a focused depiction of Nauru, the main video projection immerses the viewer in eerily desolate scenes of surreal mined out pinnacles, a colourless coastline and relics of the redundant mining industry juxtaposed with images of Melbourne's Nauru House taken during the preceding height of national affluence. This projection is a poignant testament to the artist's personal expedition to the site and his physical presence is apparent in both his considered choice of footage and more directly in the introductory voice over.

An indirect, though timely reference to ‘the Pacific Solution' and the implication of Nauru's compliance predicated on its desperate financial situation, serves to highlight some of the major social inequalities that operate in the current world order. These themes of distance, transit and cultural exchange that underlie Mangan's personal exploration of Nauru, parallel broader concerns about the dynamics of the contemporary global political economy.

Following his studio residency at Gertrude Street Contemporary Art Spaces Nick Mangan has held numerous solo exhibitions at Sutton Gallery, Melbourne. Mangan, has also frequently been curated into significant group exhibitions including in 2004; Australian Culture Now, a collaboration between the National Gallery of Victoria and Australian Centre of the Moving Image, Melbourne; Primavera at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney in 2004; Adventures with form in space: the fourth Balnaves Foundation Sculpture Project at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney in 2006 and Uncanny Nature at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, 2006. Mangan was the recipient of an Anne and Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarships in 2007. He completed post graduate studies at UDK in Berlin as part of this scholarship. Mangan created a major site specific work, A1 Southwest Stone, for the seventh SITE Santa Fe International Biennial in 2008. In 2009 he exhibited Between a Rock and a Hard Place at the Art Gallery of New South Wales Contemporary Project Space Level 2 and earlier in 2010 Mangan presented, The Nauru Project, as part of the Adelaide Biennale of Art, at the Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide.

President Marcus Stephen of Nauru meets the Obamas at the Metropolitan Museum New York along with other world leaders

Marcus Stephen, M.P. President of the Republic of Nauru

Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar, and H.H. Sheikha Mozah

Paul Biya, President of the Republic of Cameroon, and his wife, Mrs. Chantal Biya

Alhaji Dr. Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh, President of the Republic of The Gambia

Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Brunei Darussalam, and H.R.H. Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Zariah

Ahmed Abdallah Mohamed Sambi, President of the Union of the Comoros, and his wife, Mrs. Djoudi Hadjir

T.H. Milo Djukanovic Prime Minister of Montenegro, and his wife, Mrs. Djukanovic

Minister of Foreign Affairs King-Akerele of the Republic of Liberia

Madhav Kumar Nepal, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, and Mrs. Nepal

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey, and his wife, Mrs. Erdogan

And the Spanish president's goth daughters

An Open Letter to President Stephen of Nauru

TUVALU: Tiny Pacific state in crisis

LATEST: A tiny South Pacific nation, Tuvalu, has resorted to emergency rule and its leadership under armed guard, sources on the capital atoll of Funafuti say. The third smallest state on earth - after the Vatican and Nauru - has a population of just 10,400. Sources say the country's solitary navy boat, Te Mataila, is now guarding the shoreline of the side-by-side residences of the Governor General Iakoba Itaeli and Prime Minister Willy Telavi. A state of emergency has been declared and any gathering of 10 or more people prohibited. There has been a march on Funafuti but so far there has been no violence, the source says.
Tensions are high however as people from the Nukufetau island community have demanded one of their members of parliament, Lotoala Metia, resign. There has been a continuing power struggle in the 15 seat Parliament. Last year, a large part of the New Zealand Defence Forces took part in a major exercise on Funafuti, designed to prepare the nation for tsunamis and other civil disasters. The island nation is 1100km north of Fiji and has drawn the attention of environmentalists who fear it will disappear due to global warming. Tuvalu makes much of its money from fishing and the sale of its internet domain suffix, dot TV.
© 2010 Fairfax New Zealand Limited

Country Profile BBC:

Tuvalu is a group of nine tiny islands in the South Pacific which won independence from the United Kingdom in 1978. Five of the islands are coral atolls, the other four consist of land rising from the sea bed.
All are low-lying, with no point on Tuvalu being higher than 4.5 metres above sea level. Local politicians have campaigned against global warming, arguing that climate change could see the islands swamped by rising sea levels.
Life on the islands is simple and often harsh. There are no streams or rivers, so the collection of rain is essential.
Coconut palms cover most of the islands, and copra - dried coconut kernel - is practically the only export commodity. Increasing salination of the soil threatens traditional subsistence farming.
Tuvalu depends on foreign aid, the income from the sale of tuna fishing licences and the interest from a trust fund set up in 1987. The sale of postage stamps also brings in revenues.
It is one of a handful of countries to have diplomatic relations with Taiwan, which has funded the construction of Tuvalu's largest building - a three-storey administrative headquarters.
Tuvalu has shown ingenuity by exploiting another source of income. It has sold its internet suffix - .tv - to a Californian company for several million dollars a year in continuing revenue. The company sells the suffix on to television broadcasters.
Some of the money has been used to pave roads - which were formerly made of crushed coral - and to build schools.
Full name: Tuvalu
Population: 11,000 (UN, 2010)
Capital: Funafuti
Area: 26 sq km (10 sq miles)
Major language: Tuvaluan, English
Major religion: Christianity
Life expectancy: 62 years (men), 65 years (women) (UN)
Monetary unit: 1 Tuvaluan dollar, or 1 Australian dollar = 100 cents
Main exports: Copra, handicrafts
GNI per capita: Estimated to be lower middle income: $996 to $3,945 (World Bank, 2009)
Internet domain: .tv
International dialling code: +688

Nauru College PV System

First Island Seen by Christopher Columbus For Sale

High Cay, Bahamas was the first land that Christopher Columbus spotted on his famous journey when he discovered the new world. Just imagine, crossing the ocean for months not knowing if you will ever see land again... and then all of a sudden, this beatiful island is spotted! Amazingly, this 31.46 acre island is on sale! Listed at $3,000,000 U.S., the island boasts 3 different beaches, and although it doesn't have a dock at the moment, there is an ideal sheltered spot to build one. The Bahamas is a great place to purchase an island, because of its stable government, balmy weather and close proximity to the U.S. Although this island has a lot going for it, the history of the island is what makes it really attractive.


Wirtland to grant citizenship to Julian Assange

Dec 28, 2010
Wirtland citizenship for Julian Assange

Government of Wirtland decided to grant Wirtland citizenship to Julian Assange. The official letter from the world's first sovereign cybercountry underlines Mr. Assange's "great accomplishments in changing the public perception of internet and its role in the world's balance of power". Official residence permit was issued in the name of Julian Assange.

"Your example has vividly demonstrated how quickly and efficiently the internet can influence real life. While citizenship of a cybercountry may seem merely symbolic today, you know better than anybody else the potential of cyberspace and the role of web social projects in the near future. Wirtland offers our citizenship to show our support to your case, and our appreciation of your achievements," - states the Wirtland's letter to Mr. Assange.

Mr. Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, is currently under house arrest in England pending an extradition hearing. For his work with WikiLeaks, Assange received a number of awards and nominations, including the 2009 Amnesty International Media Award and Readers' Choice for Time magazine's 2010 Person of the Year.


With kind regards,

Cristopher Luengo

PR Attache

Foreign Office

Government of Wirtland


Book: The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares

The Invention of Morel
Adolfo Bioy Casares, introduction by Suzanne Jill Levine, prologue by Jorge Luis Borges, translated from the Spanish by Ruth L.C. Simms.
Jorge Luis Borges declared The Invention of Morel a masterpiece of plotting, comparable to The Turn of The Screw and Journey to the Center of the Earth. Set on a mysterious island, Bioy’s novella is a story of suspense and exploration, as well as a wonderfully unlikely romance, in which every detail is at once crystal clear and deeply mysterious. Inspired by Bioy Casares’s fascination with the movie star Louise Brooks, The Invention of Morel has gone on to live a secret life of its own. Greatly admired by Julio Cortázar, Gabriel García Márquez, and Octavio Paz, the novella helped to usher in Latin American fiction’s now famous postwar boom. As the model for Alain Resnais and Alain Robbe-Grillet’s Last Year in Marienbad, it also changed the history of film.

Adolfo Bioy Casares (1914–1999) was born in Buenos Aires, the child of wealthy parents. He began to write in the early Thirties, and his stories appeared in the influential magazine Sur, through which he met his wife, the painter and writer Silvina Ocampo, as well Jorge Luis Borges, who was to become his mentor, friend, and collaborator. In 1940, after writing several novice works, Bioy published the novella The Invention of Morel, the first of his books to satisfy him, and the first in which he hit his characteristic note of uncanny and unexpectedly harrowing humor. Later publications include stories and novels, among them A Plan for Escape, A Dream of Heroes, and Asleep in the Sun. Bioy also collaborated with Borges on an Anthology of Fantastic Literature and a series of satirical sketches written under the pseudonym of H. Bustos Domecq.

Suzanne Jill Levine is the author of numerous studies in Latin American literature and the translator of works by Adolfo Bioy Casares, Jorge Luis Borges, Guillermo Cabrera Infante, and Manuel Puig, among other distinguished writers. Levine’s most recent book is Manuel Puig and the Spider Woman: His Life and Fictions. She is a professor in the Spanish Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

New York Review Books
Copyright © 1963-2011 NYREV, Inc. All rights reserved.