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SHIPS (a screening) & Now then, Closing Reception

  • Little Berlin 2430 Coral Street Philadelphia, PA, 19125 United States (map)

The closing reception of Now then, curated by Amalia Wiatr Lewis, will offer a screening of films about boats and ships:

The Column by Adrian Paci

Kwassa Kwassa by Tuan Andrew Nguyen and SUPERFLEX

The Forgotten Space by Allan Sekula and Noël Burch

Film Descriptions:

The Column
The Column (2013), first shown at the Galerie National du Jeu de Paume in Paris, presents an epic story, which Paci describes as a “fairy tale,” about a chinese factory boat and the production of a marble column. Chinese laborers drill and cut a large block of marble from a quarry in the mountains, then load it onto a boat, which embarks on a transoceanic journey to Italy. The film shows the process by which the stone is manually carved into a Corinthian column, an artisanal mode of production that appears both archaic and exotic.

Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Peter Kilchmann

Kwassa Kwassa
Kwassa Kwassa is a film work by SUPERFLEX portraying the construction of a boat on the island of Anjouan, in the Comoro archipelago between Madagasgar and Mozambique. Although usually used for fishing, boats like the one built in the film are in many cases also used for transporting migrants to the neighbouring island of Mayotte, a French oversea territory and the outermost region of the EU. The islands are 70 km apart – separated by a seemingly short, but life-threatening journey that has claimed more than 10,000 lives of women, men and children. Kwassa Kwassa interprets the boat as a contextual construction intended to carry migrants on a dangerous, politically complex journey. Carrying more than symbolic meaning as a vessel for dreams of reaching a better life on the other shore, the boat is also a labor-intensive work of craftsmanship and the physical passage bearing human lives to safety – as the title questions in translation “an unstable boat” from the language of the Comoro Islands.

Courtesy of SUPERFLEX

The Forgotten Space
The Forgotten Space follows container cargo aboard ships, barges, trains and trucks, listening to workers, engineers, planners, politicians, and those marginalized by the global transport system. We visit displaced farmers and villagers in Holland and Belgium, underpaid truck drivers in Los Angeles, seafarers aboard mega-ships shuttling between Asia and Europe, and factory workers in China, whose low wages are the fragile key to the whole puzzle. And in Bilbao, we discover the most sophisticated expression of the belief that the maritime economy, and the sea itself, is somehow obsolete.

A range of materials is used: descriptive documentary, interviews, archive stills and footage, clips from old movies. The result is an essayistic, visual documentary about one of the most important processes that affects us today. The Forgotten Space is based on Sekula’s Fish Story, seeking to understand and describe the contemporary maritime world in relation to the complex symbolic legacy of the sea.

Courtesy of the Allan Sekula, Noël Burch, and Doc.Eye Films