A Trivial Pursuit card, as it´s called in the film, locates the so-called cargo cult on the oceanic Vanuatu Island. The cult involves indigenous population groups imitating U.S. soldiers with equipment made of simple basic materials and gestures. These radio replicas made of wood and symbolic airstrips are meant to lure airplanes full of cargo from the sky, bringing happiness and wealth. Through these ritual practices, filmmaker Christoph Schwarz and media artist Peter Moosgaard approach art-theoretical discourses on copy, counterfeit, and originality—especially since the latter is experiencing a creative crisis and imagines the desired breakthrough will come from tracking down the "super cargo": art works are imitated and technological commodities copied using tree branches as functional mock ups.
In doing so, Supercargo operates in several respects with true facts; like in earlier works by Christoph Schwarz, fiction and documentary are spun together in such a way that the recordings themselves become playful material. The search process is accompanied by precise takes, the off-screen voice of Fritz Ostermayer dominates the image as a first-person narrator and holds the sequences together as a diary-like story. A self-ironic note accompanies the film as quasi background music: for example, in consultations with the philosopher Robert Pfaller, in the attempt to adapt the concept to current trends in the cultural scene. Or when the search for traces of lost rites in the province just won´t turn up anything, and previously promoted "Austro cargo" phenomena have to be feigned with the help of recalcitrant teens so as not to blow the cover of the sham. At the end of the artistic search, what remains is the realization: "Waiting is the hardest part." (Jana Koch)
Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt