We are happy to announce that Rebecca Moss (and her fellow passengers) disembarked in Tokyo today, after 25 days aboard the Hanjin Geneva. The situation of the Hanjin collapse is complex, has caused turmoil to many, and is still unfolding. We now understand that the crew of the Geneva will not be facing the loss of their jobs because they (as well as many others working Hanjin vessels) are employed by the German operators NSB Reederei.
We are grateful to the NSB, the Captain of the Hanjin Geneva, the British Consular Service, and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union for their support and communication throughout this time. Kira Simon-Kennedy, director of China Residencies, also deserves special mention for her assistance. Rebecca will spend the next few days connecting with our art community in Tokyo, before she flies back to London, UK.
For immediate release | August 31, 2016:
As many in the global community will already be aware, Hanjin Shipping Company, carrier of the local and international artists participating in Access Gallery’s Twenty-Three Days at Sea travelling artist residency and one of the world’s largest shipping lines, has filed for receivership. The company’s assets are frozen, and ports have blocked access to its fleet of 150 container ships. This news follows a persistent decline in worldwide trade, as global shipping firms have been swamped by overcapacity and sluggish demand.
Rebecca Moss, Twenty-Three Days at Sea’s fifth resident artist, is currently aboard the Hanjin Geneva, several hundred kilometres off the shores of Japan. The vessel has been denied entry into their intended destination at the port of Shanghai. We are in close communication with Moss; she and the crew are safe, and the captain is currently working to secure a port for their vessel. We are monitoring the situation closely. Our supporting partners, China Residencies, will draw on their formidable connections in artistic communities across Asia to ensure Moss is supported in whatever country her vessel enables her to disembark.
The immensity of this news, as devastating as it is for the hundreds of workers affected, underscores many of the residency’s core concerns, indicating both the precarity of globalized capitalism and our dependence upon systems that we neither see nor understand. It also underscores the considerable role that contemporary artists may play in bringing such situations to our attention in provocative and transformative ways.
Rebecca Moss’ performative and video-based practice draws on Henri Bergson’s theories of the comedic, wherein comedy is understood to arise in moments of friction between a mechanical system and the nature into which it is inserted. In an email written to Access’ Director/Curator on Wednesday, Moss stated, “I can’t begin to describe how it feels to look out the window and see a huge stack of containers, surrounded by miles of ocean in every direction, and realize they don’t actually have a destination. All the labour, the scale of this operation, just feels even more completely insane now.”
Select coverage of the Hanjin collapse:
Coverage of Rebecca Moss aboard the Hanjin Geneva:
Twenty-Three Days at Sea: A Travelling Artist Residency is produced by Access Gallery in partnership with the Burrard Arts Foundation and the Contemporary Art Gallery. Partial sponsorship of the sea voyages is graciously offered by Reederei NSB, assistance in Asia by China Residencies and Art Contraste, and at the Port of Vancouver by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Access is grateful for the ongoing support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the British Columbia government through the BC Arts Council and BC Gaming, the City of Vancouver, and our donors, sponsors, members and volunteers.
Image: Christopher Boyne, Hanjin Geneva, 2015. Digital photograph. Courtesy of the artist.