We are delighted to present Black Atlas (2016), a five-part installation by Stockholm-based Canadian artist Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyen. Based on photographs that Nguyen found in the archives of the Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm, Black Atlas reflects upon the nameless porters and workers who were used to transport an array of material from distant countries to the museum’s storage on behalf of some of its prominent benefactors.
Screening daily alongside Black Atlas are two films that explore these threads in our contemporary world. Laura Waddington’s film CARGO (2001, 29 mins) evokes the contradictions of a global freight network that services the movement of goods at the expense of the freedoms of its crew. Based on a six-week journey she made on a container ship with Rumanian and Filipino sailors, Waddington has said of CARGO‘it falls between reality and fiction. It was a way of showing the limbo these men were living in.’
Maeve Brennan’s The Drift (2017, 50mins) traces the shifting economies of objects in contemporary Lebanon through three individuals: Fakhry, Mohammed and Hashem. It draws out their embodied knowledge of materials and things – Fakhry guarding the Roman temple he rebuilt, Mohammed replacing salvaged car parts as he talks, Hashem silently repairing ceramic fragments – in contrast to the exploitative practices we glimpse at the sharper edge of conflict.