Lisson Gallery

John Akomfrah's Vertigo Sea goes on view at La Base Sous-Marine in Bordeaux

20 June 2019

Opening tomorrow, La Base Sous-Marine in Bordeaux, France, will present John Akomfrah’s 2015 film Vertigo Sea, as part of a cultural season entitled ‘Freedom! From the Century of Enlightenment to the Ocean Spirit’ about the sea and its shores.

Akomfrah’s three-channel film installation is an exploration of what Ralph Waldo Emerson called ‘the sublime seas’, and the relationship between man and sea in the context of post-colonialism. Fusing archival and specially filmed footage with narration from classical sources, Vertigo Sea focuses on the disorder and cruelty of the whaling industry, and the journeys of African migrants crossing the ocean, in search for a better life but instead facing brutality at the hands of those in authority. The sea is positioned here as simultaneously a rich source of life, movement and stunning visual beauty, and a site of mass murder, political instability and unaccountability.

The exhibition is on view until 22 September.

Image: John Akomfrah, Vertigo Sea, 2015, Three channel HD colour video installation, 7.1 sound, 48 minutes 30 seconds © Smoking Dogs Films
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