‘THE SEA IS FORGOTTEN’

April 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

Based on the project Fish Story, by artist, writer and educator, Allan Sekula, his new film, The Forgotten Space, co-directed with Noël Burch, seeks ‘to understand and describe the contemporary maritime world in relation to the complex symbolic legacy of the sea’. Framed by the processes of globalisation, the sea represents, ‘slow time’:

from The Forgotten Space (still)

Once you start thinking transnationally, you’re led to the sea: the ship is the first great instrument of globalisation…you can observe the compression of time and space in the modern world from the decks of a containerised cargo vessel.

In his notes, Sekula continues:

Our film is about globalization and the sea, the “forgotten space” of our modernity. First and foremost, globalization is the penetration of the multinational corporate economy into every nook and cranny of human life…our premise is that the sea remains the crucial space of globalization. Nowhere else is the disorientation, violence, and alienation of contemporary capitalism more manifest.

A significance of the original project and now the film, is the insight it provides concerning the complex yet determining relationship between labour and capital in all its globalised settings.  The overarching context referenced in images from the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

from The Forgotten Space (still)

The film has received a degree of media attention as witnessed in a recent interview with Sekula titled, ‘Filming the forgotten resistance at sea’, by the Guardian Newspaper addressing the project and its reception and can be found here. While a roundtable discussion between Sekula, Burch along with the cultural geographer and Professor at City University of New York (CUNY), David Harvey and art historian and curator, Benjamin Buchloh, following a screening at Cooper Union in May, 2011, can be viewed here.

Ultimately, while the film makes visible another labour narrative and its integral significance in a modernity that perhaps could be overlooked or indeed forgotten, critically, according to the curator and writer, Jennifer Burris, it equally proposes:

Forms of material resistance that not only reintroduce the maritime world as a space forgotten within the hypertrophied narratives of electronic trading and consumption-driven economies, it also argues for an understanding of the current financial crisis not as an aberration of global capital, but as a pathology intrinsic to capitalism itself.

from The Forgotten Space (photograph by Allan Sekula)

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