Tag Archives: Seafarers

Confounding Expectations: The Forgotten Space: Film Screening and Conversation with Allan Sekula

© Allan Sekula & Noël Burch. Still from ‘The Forgotten Space’, 2010, digital film, color, sound; 112 mins. Produced by DocEye Film, Amsterdam, in co-production with WildArt Film, Vienna. Courtesy DocEye Film, Amsterdam

Aperture Foundation, The Vera List Center for Art and Politics, and The Photography Program at Parsons the New School for Design presents:

A special screening of The Forgotten Space, a film by Allan Sekula & Noël Burch. A conversation with Allan Sekula will follow at the end of the screening.

Monday, December 5, 2011, 8:00 pm

Tishman Auditorium at The New School University
66 West 12th Street
New York, New York 10011

The Aperture Foundation, the Vera List Center for Art and Politics, and The Photography Program at Parsons the New School for Design presents a special screening of The Forgotten Space, a film by Allan Sekula and Noël Burch, followed by a conversation with Sekula.

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 book Fish Story (1995), seeking to understand and describe the contemporary maritime world in relation to the complex symbolic legacy of the sea.

Born in 1951, Allan Sekula’s works with photographic sequences, written texts, slide shows and sound recordings have traveled a path close to cinema, sometimes referring to specific films since the early 1970s. However, with the exception of a few video works from the early 70s and early 80s, he has stayed away from the moving image. This changed in 2001, with the first work that Sekula was willing to call a film, Tsukiji, a “city symphony” set in Tokyo’s giant fish market.

Born in 1932, Noël Burch has been living in France since 1951. While primarily known for his theoretical writings, he has always positioned himself as a filmmaker and has directed over twenty titles, mostly documentaries. From 1967 to 1972, he collaborated with Janine Bazin and Andrè S. Labarthe for the celebrated series,Cinèastes de Notre Temps, and directed seven programs which are considered to have renewed the “film-maker portrait” in the heroic years of French public television. Burch co-founded the Institut de Formation Cinèmatographique, an alternative film school associating theory and practice.


Photo shows – Sea Creatures: Beachside Photographs opens in San Diego featuring Joni Sternbach’s wet-plate collodion work

© Joni Sternbach, Mary Ellen, 2011

© Joni Sternbach, Dave, 2011

© Joni Sternbach, Kazzie Mahina, 2011

There’s a new show, Sea Creatures, which opened a week ago at the Joseph Bellows Gallery in California, that looks like it’s well worth a visit if you’re in the area of visiting over the summer.  Featuring works by three artists Joni Sternbach, Dana Montlack and Liz Lantz it runs until 13 August.

I was in contact via Facebook with Joni recently, while I was in San Diego where she pointed me to the Surfing Madonna mosaic mural – now drawing “a mass following” according to the article. It appeared under the highway in Encinitas, San Diego over the Easter weekend and is stirring conversation and debate about conservation and illegal artistic endeavours.

Joni Sternbach uses old photographic processes shot using contemporary Surf ‘n’ Sea subjects and beach locations to create images that point to quintessential Californian themes.

From the press release: “Sternbach’s 19th-century wet-plate collodion method transforms surfers from around the U.S. and Australia into timeless portraits of modern seafarers alongside the primal landscapes they inhabit. The photographs in Sea Creatures: Beachside Photographs by Joni Sternbach, Dana Montlack & Liz Lantz are of one conversation.”

From the press release continued:

“Joni Sternbach works with a large format camera using the wet-plate collodion process first used during the American Civil War. The procedure is labor intensive, with chemistry mixed and applied to metal plates just seconds before each exposure. Her darkroom is a rolling tent set up on site; it attracts audiences wherever she goes.

“On the shorelines of both American coasts, and most recently in Australia, her distinctive process lures surfers to pose for her camera. The use of a large camera slows time down, so that her subjects adopt a timeless beauty and permanence that defies the otherwise active, animated life of surfing the big wave. Some are beautiful and fit, others show the toll of sun and salt water. The styles of their boards, the decals they place there, the wet suits and swimsuits they don, the hair that is usually long — all describe a highly eclectic tribe of mariners that has long fascinated the photographer.

“In 2009, Sternbach’s surfers were exhibited at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA. Curator Phillip Prodger wrote, “Gone is the electricity of the sport, the precarious balance of riding big waves, and the vibrant colors of cerulean blue seas and tropical sunsets. …Instead, her surfers are frank, human, and democratic, depicted in unpretentious black and white. Like a latter-day ethnographer, she provides a catalogue of types, distinguished by fashion, sex, age, and body type.” Sea Creatures features her Surfland Series.

“Sternbach first came to notice in Peter Galassi’s 1991 Museum of Modern Art  exhibition, Pleasures and Terrors of Domestic Comfort. She concentrates largely on landscape photography. Her book Surfland was nominated as “Best Book of 2009” by Photo Eye.

“She has had over fifteen solo exhibitions both nationally and internationally, and won numerous awards and residencies, among them, the Center for Land Use Interpretation, The Art Park/Australia, Light Work, and The New York Foundation for the Arts. She has taught workshops at ICP, NYU, and around the country. Her photographs are in several public collections nationwide.”

Filed under: Photographers, Photography Books, Photography Shows Tagged: California, Dana Montlack, Joni Sternbach, Joseph Bellows Gallery, Liz Lantz, mosaic mural, San Diego, Sea Creatures, Surfing Madonna, wet-plate collodion