Life, death, loss and escape in Nottingham with Zineb Sedira

By Culture24 Staff | 09 February 2009
A picture of a large naval vessel

Pic courtesy New Art Exchange

Exhibition: Floating Coffins, New Art Exchange, Nottingham, until April 19 2009

“Floating Coffins is a space where life, death, loss, escape, abandoned and shipwrecked journeys meet,” says Zineb Sedira of her video and sound installation. “It’s both a toxic graveyard and a source of survival and hope.”

A picture of a battered ship

Pic courtesy New Art Exchange

Mauritania, where the London-based French-Algerian artist created the piece, is known as a port for sub-Saharan Africans to attempt to escape to Europe, usually finding themselves foiled by scuppering weather or authorities across the sea.

Their vessels often fare badly as well, leaving beaches full of wrecks, unwanted objects and bodies, replaced by birds migrating to the tropical habitat.

A view of a ship from a turret on a sandy beach

Pic courtesy New Art Exchange

Sedira wants Floating Coffins to be “a meditation on the sea as a site of transience and migration, departure and arrival,” and she’s bringing two other films on the subject to the gallery.

Saphir fades sound in and out as the sea, two protagonists and a hotel reach a dialogue in Algiers, and MiddleSea shows a lone figure travelling between France and Algeria, soundtracked by a brooding composition by Mikhail Karikis to examine the sea as a geographical barrier between hemispheres.

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