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Point Nemo – No One

“Point Nemo” is a Latin word for “No One” and Nemo is used by geographers and scientists to locate the farthest point on Earth away from any mass land and civilization. Nemo name is also used in tribute to Jules Verne’s character Captain Nemo in his novel “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”.
Besides the usual geographical identification of the North/South poles, and because the magnetic field on Earth is now acknowledged to be asymmetric, scientists are discovering and trying to identify other poles or points of inaccessibility. Currently, the continental pole of inaccessibility is located in Eurasia, Northern China, coordinates 46°17′ North latitude 86°40′ e. The oceanic pole of inaccessibility is located in the South Pacific, coordinates 47°52′ Yu. sh. 123°23′ s. D. This area is so desolate that there is almost no fauna species and the strongest oceanic currents allow only bacteria to develop.


The tricky thing is that Space Agencies are now using these continental and oceanic poles of inaccessibility to drop and dump hundreds of spacecrafts on Earth in order to avoid any human “damages”. So the deep sea of Point Nemo in the far South Eastern Pacific is full of spacecrafts debris.


The tricky thing is that Space Agencies are now using these continental and oceanic poles of inaccessibility to drop and dump hundreds of spacecrafts on Earth in order to avoid any human “damages”. So the deep sea of Point Nemo in the far South Eastern Pacific is full of spacecrafts debris.
It is also worth noticing that, decades ago, the American writer of science/fantasy/horror fictions Howard Philips Lovecraft (1890-1937), was writing and making some sketches (cf. image below) about “The Call Chtulu” (1926), a supernatural monster, and he located the existence of Chtulu monster very closed to what is now known as Point Nemo in the Pacific.  


Names dropping in the Pacific is a life project gathering different materials: images, poems, short essays, sounds, archives… weaving critical thoughts, fantasies, performances, theories, emotions, research… From these materials, we aim to produce a movie and a publication, along with installations and workshops.   


Names dropping in the Pacific is dedicated to the Maori people of the Pacific I am tied to, but also to the American, Chinese, French, Japanese, and all mixed communities who are the children of (post)colonization histories, developing their lives in these areas and having a true attachment to this vast ocean.
It is fascinating to research how names, and of course how each individual/collective life, area and context related to them, could open complex streams and unexpected threads to better understand how the Pacific, going along with its history and contemporary development, is constantly reframed by geopolitical strategies of naming due to the re-de-mapping of the sea according to colonization histories and current economical appropriations of the ocean.


Moreover, naming, renaming, de-naming is also an impressive private and collective cultural “thesaurus” of the Pacific generated by people themselves, individuals, families, societies and identities living or/and migrating in the Pacific.
As the ocean, the process of naming is a boundlessness area crossing:
– The (still unknown) origins of the Maoris: some Maoris have been struggling to keep their indigenous names while others were “renamed” after colonization and mixed filiations. It appears also that people have western family name but Maori first name, or vice-versa. Then, the resurgence of Maori cultures are leading young generations of renaming themselves with Maori names.
– The inter connections of the people from the Pacific with America, Asia and Europe as continents: as an example, some European families transformed their names when they migrated to the United  States and before arriving in the Pacific archipelagos. Asian communities in China and Japan who migrated by choice and opportunities of job offered by western colonizers saw their names changed or more precisely “distorted” since their names were written (means recreated) phonetically by French or US administrations. Other Asian communities like the Hakka people in French Polynesia tried to preserve their names and cultures, openly or discreetly.
– Illegitimate relations and recreation of mixed families: the Pacific, from the colonization to now, was not only made of an official history of political, administrative and legal administration and governance. So many individuals had illegal love relations (French with indegnous, Chinese with indigenous, indigenous from one locality (New Zealand) with another  indigenous locality (Tahiti). So in the Pacific you can meet people who have a name that is not their real name, but a name coming from another family who adopted the child to hide the illegitimate relation.
– Some of the people in the Pacific have simply… no name


Names dropping…
What is in a name? How sounds a name? De-naming? Re-naming? Integrating a name? Alienated by a name? Claiming a name? Original naming?  No naming?
All these questions relate to multiple and complex representations of the Pacific, inside or on the margins of official history. That is the challenge of such research project.
Of course names dropping in the Pacific is neither about the construction of a (sub) history nor an obsession for finding some true origins.
It is an on-going practice of archiving, experiencing, performing, practicing and engaging the Pacific, combining different layers of sounds, texts and images (re)creation, of course connecting with other cultural backgrounds from Asia to Europe, from the Americas to this sea of islands that is the Pacific. 
This project is not (only) a theoretical academic project but it is more an in-between artistic, historical, anthropological, poetical, sonic, visual, theoretical, private/public statements.
In the following texts and images selection, the reader might cross some passages related to my personal story and experience (Larys Frogier aka Ocean) as a mixed Polynesian and displaced person from my childhood to now, having different life journeys from Polynesia to Europe to Asia. Thank you to take such process, not as an “exhibition” of a self-centered story-telling, but more as one voice among multiple other voices and contributors who could/will engage the project.


Ocean & Wavz, Lost & Found (Echo), 2022, photograph. Copyright©2022 Singapore WAVZ PTE LTD. All rights reserved.


Names dropping in the Pacific is a salty ‘clin d’oeil’ to the real bombs dropping in and looming from the ocean related to the past and contemporary colonial histories, conflicts, reunifications that happened for geopolitical and ideological strategies, exploiting people, building walls of exotic representations, occupying remote, invisible places to make happen the worse of humanity like nuclear explosions (French Polynesia, Marshall islands etc.), war  bombings (Hawaii Pearl Harbor, Tahiti). But this project does not limit itself to (post)colonization history. It aims to look (back and forth) to much more complex ancient and current practices of migration from multiple communities. It also observes and questions the contemporary capitalist and communist strategies of economical invasion of territories, destruction of environment and cultures in the Pacific.


Following the colonization of the Pacific in the XVIth-XVIIth centuries and since the middle of the XIXth century to now, the Pacific has been the very first and most strategic “crossroad” for experimenting the system of what we call today ‘globalization’ based on profit, commodification, planning, exploitation, creating stereotypes of indigenous people (especially women) to better submit people to Western and Asian continental standards of society, economy and “development”. The invisibility of such tiny archipelagos was and is still very convenient for continental nations to occupy, hide, destroy atolls with nuclear bombings, to deport and to impact people with radioactivity and other diseases, to crush coral reefs and islands, killing life environment for the future decades and centuries.
Needless to say that Globalization is not only a Western practice but nowadays it is also an Asian infiltration with authoritarian systems promising trade, education (well you know what I mean…), financial help (well you know what I mean…), drowning these islands and independent governances into indebtment and ideological submission.


I am the fruit of colonialism means I do not belong to any “pure, unique and exclusive” origin. Made of very unbalanced mixtures of Tahitian, European (Danish, German, French, American) and Chinese roots, I am claiming such family history made of displacements and life experiences because it radically changed my understanding of the official history of colonization.
Of course I am and will forever be traumatized with official administrative, religious, economical colonization acts and atrocities. However, I feel also committed into more constructive ways of (re)considering the alternatives impacts of colonization. Indeed, many people and individuals living in the Pacific have reinvented invisible but powerful alternatives of localities based on unexpected combinations: for example forbidden love stories between Polynesian, French, Chinese, American etc. have made possible the emergence of new generations who are very much engaged in more unexpected, opened acts of life, cultural cooperation, artistic creation, bringing with them their own challenges, ideas and creativity. And this is just as precious as the limitative dichotomies about the “colonizer” versus the “colonized”.


The origins of the Maoris and Polynesians are very much unknown with many theories still opened to questions. So this add another deep layer in feeling constantly rooted and de-rooted in the same time. For the best… because we are always standing far away from and out of any enclosure of nationalism, localism, regionalism, territorialism, separation between “us” and “them”: I believe into this on going process of change, displacement, re-adaptation. Never integration… Since we are already des-integrated, while keeping safe cultural heritage and preservation of environment and quality of life.


In other words, the ocean is our horizon not our land as a property, a nation or a continent. We are not only coming from small islands or archipelagos in the sea but fundamentally from the ocean. Instead of using the Western invented name of the “Pacific”, the anthropologist and poet Epeli Hau o’Faa prefers wording OCEANIA as multiple peoples, movements of the sea, on-going and changing interconnections between (is)lands and seas, non-human elements of the ocean, dense layers of histories and cultural practices. Such position is also quite different from Edouard Glissant’s concept of the archipelagic that is still tied to (is)lands, territories and anthropo centered areas, as well as dependent on or extending from the history of colonization.
Continental men (…) on entering the Pacific after crossing huge expanses of ocean, introduced the view of “islands in a far sea.” (…) I have just the term “ocean peoples” because our ancestors, who had lived in the Pacific for over two thousand years, viewed their world as “a sea of islands” rather than “islands in the sea.(…)
An identity that is grounded in something as vast as the sea should exercise our minds and rekindle in us the spirit that sent our ancestors to explore the oceanic unknown and make it their home, our home. I would like to make it clear at the outset that I am not in any way suggesting cultural homogeneity for our region. Such thing is neither possible nor desirable. Besides, our diversity is necessary for the struggle against the homonegising forces of the global juggernaut.

Epeli Hau’Ofa, We Are the Ocean, 2008, University of Hawai’i Press, Honolulu, p.32, 42.


Photograph taken in 1883 from Caroline atoll, Kiribati, during the total eclipse of the sun.


SAVAGE was the name of the boat on which my Danish ancestor named Samuel Brothersen (1825-1915) embarked from the United Kingdom to the United States of America. Once in San Francisco, he changed his name to an American name as Brothers, and he developed with a business partner and friend Joseph Browne a trading company, navigating from North to South, East to West through the Pacific Ocean. He got married with Mary Browne (1845-1934), renaming the schooner MARIA.


Samuel and Mary Brothers made several voyages from Tahiti to San Francisco trading import/export of copra from coconut plantations, orange, lime, vanilla, fish, guano fertilizer, pearl shell. During one of their trip, their very young son died of dysentery. Mary was distraught since she had already lost her daughter two years before, committing her body to the sea. So they decided to make a stop on Caroline Atoll part of the Kiribati archipelago, and there they buried the Willy son’s body. A small islet of the Caroline Atoll bore now the name of “Brothers islet”. Captain Samuel and Mary Brothers had eleven children, five of them survived.


Following troubles about import/export pearl shell with the young queen of Bora-Bora island – French Polynesia (where was shot the movie TABU by Murnau in 1930), they settled in Fiji in 1875. But during one their trip the boat was sabotaged and sank into deep waters nearby Tahiti. The family lost all and get semi-retirement on Raiatea island French Polynesia, working for the Société Commerciale de l’Océanie (Commercial Society of Oceania). Samuel died in 1915, aged 90 years old, Mary died in 1934; aged 89 years old, both bodies are buried in Papeete-Tahiti French Polynesia.



Word from the Tahitian language
Definition from the Tahitian Academy


Adjective: Across, askew, through.
Common noun:
. Band, stripe, stripe, crevice in a rock.
. Horizontal bar above a vowel to indicate that it is long (Academy).
Intransitive verb: To lie horizontally, to be across.
“Te ta’ata tāna tautai, tē tārava noa ra te a’au”:
“Each one has his/her own way of fishing, the reef stretches out before us.”
A saying that means there’s room for all kinds of activities and everyone can do as they please.
The “Himene Tārava” (crossed over song) musical genre appeared during the period of evangelization and colonization of Polynesia. Although its ancestral sources are still poorly understood, the Tārava was sung at this time to welcome missionaries, and each word of the song could contain a verse from the Bible. The Tārava then developed in certain Polynesian archipelagos: Tahiti, Raromatai, the Austral Islands (Tuhaa pa’e), according to specific narrative (ode to nature, celebration of a personality, storytelling of a legend…) and musical characteristics specific to these Polynesian archipelagos.
“Murnau Tane” (Mister Murnau) is a polyphony in homage to filmmaker Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau (1888, Bielefeld, Germany – 1931, Santa Barbara, California, USA). In 1931, Murnau travelled to the island of Bora Bora in French Polynesia to shoot the film “Tabu: A Story of the South Seas”, which tells the story of a young couple determined to break free from the rigid shackles of their traditionalist society corrupted by colonization.
The original negative edited by Murnau is considered lost, but around 15,000 meters of nitrate negatives have survived in the collection of the Austrian Film Museum. Of the 21 films made by Murnau, eight are considered completely lost. With so much unused footage, Tabu is an exceptional case in film history. Thanks to the KUR program for the conservation of movable cultural assets, the Deutsche Kinemathek, in collaboration with the Austrian Film Museum, has been able to preserve the unique and fragile negatives, reassemble the takes in the original shooting order and publish them in their entirety in digital form.