Twenty-three Days at Sea

“The boat is a floating piece of space, a place without a place, that exists by itself, that is closed in on itself and at the same time is given over to the infinity of the sea… (it is a) great instrument of economic development, but has been simultaneously the greatest reserve of the imagination…” – Michel Foucault

In December 2014, Access Gallery—in partnership with Burrard Arts Foundation—issued a call for submissions for a highly unconventional artist residency, offering selected emergent and experimental artists passage aboard cargo ships sailing from Vancouver to Shanghai. Crossing the Pacific Ocean takes approximately twenty-three days, during which time artists will be considered “in residence” aboard the vessel. As stated on the residency announcement, our intention was to select two candidates who would inaugurate this multi-year project by setting sail in late summer 2015. The response to this call was overwhelming. By deadline we had received over 800 proposals submitted by artists hailing from sites as far afield as Sevastopol, Lahore, Sao Paolo, and St. Petersburg. The calibre and strength of the submissions was striking, their ingenuity breathtaking. It was immediately clear that what we had initiated was not simply an artist residency, but a powerful framework through which to address the complexity of our contemporary condition. The cargo ship—sailing across a vast and “empty” space of the sea, nearly always invisible to those on shore and yet inextricably threaded through all our lives—seemed to offer a near bottomless container for the imagination, for narrative and for cultural critique.

The sheer diversity in artists’ proposals, and the breadth of creative queries, concerns and materials that might be brought to this sea voyage, compelled us to expand our initial parameters. In 2015, a jury of established art professionals in Vancouver selected four outstanding emergent artists to embark on Twenty-Three Days at Sea to mark its inaugural year. Diverse in their treatment of both media and subject matter, they are linked by the suppleness and strength of their past work and—of particular importance in this context—by practices defined by a perceptible and sustained state of “seeking.” The new bodies of work produced in response to their voyages, along with published reproductions of their logbooks kept while at sea, were presented at Access Gallery in two parts: Chapter One (May 28—July 16, 2017) and Chapter Two (September 9—October 28, 2017).

Twenty-Three Days at Sea has captured imaginations worldwide. To follow updates and announcements, please visit the Twenty-Three Days at Sea facebook page.

Read select coverage of Twenty-three Days at Sea by local and international press:

Chapter 1: 2015-2016

Vancouver Metro News: 23 Days at Sea

D-zine Trip: Artists Find Their Groove on a Slow Boat to China

China Daily: Artists Inspired on Cargo Trip to China

Art Radar: 23 Days at Sea Residency Attracts Global Attention

Vancouver Sun: Artists Spend 23 Days Crossing Pacific on Container Vessel

Vancouver Sun: Inspiration from ‘a slow boat to China’

Vancity Buzz: Creative Cargo: Access Gallery’s Artistic Voyage

CBC: Vancouver is so Expensive Artists Live at Sea

Vancouver Courier: Artists at Sea for Unique Residency Program

China Residencies: Residency Profile:: Twenty-Three Days at Sea

China Residencies: Interview with Elisa Ferrari

Scout Magazine: Christopher Boyne Print: Access Gallery

Vancouver is Awesome: Local Gallery “stows away” artists in cargo ships for 23 days

Canadian Art: News in Brief

The Georgia Straight: Artists will spend 23 days at sea during Access Gallery cargo ship residency

The Ubyssey: Twenty-Three Days at Sea: A Travelling Artist Residency

Vancouver Sun: Access Gallery chooses artists for inaugural 23 Days at Sea

Listen to Director/Curator Kimberly Phillips, as well as resident artists Christopher Boyne, Elisa Ferrari, and Nour Bishouty speak about Twenty-three Days at Sea on Vancouver Co-op Radio:

Vancouver Co-op Radio: The Better World Show July 18, 2015

Vancouver Co-op Radio: The Better World Show Nov 7, 2015


Chapter 2: 2016-2017

Vancouver Courier: Artists sent to sea on cargo ship

Canadian Art : International Attention Grows Over Artist Stranded at Sea

E-Flux : Bankrupt Container Ship Strands Artist on Residency in Pacific Ocean

CBC Arts: A young artist is stuck at sea, and it might be the best thing that’s ever happened to her

Vancouver Sun : British Artist on Vancouver Residency Stranded on Hanjin Freighter

Vancouver Sun : Art Seen Stranded at Sea British Artist Sees her Surroundings with New Eyes

Vancouver Sun : Stranded artist says crew on Hanjin freighter has been told to conserve food and water

Hyperallergic : Artist-in-Residence Stranded at Sea on Bankrupt Container Ship

Wall Street Journal:Hanjin’s Stranded Ships Contain One Absurdist Filmmaker

Metro UK: British Artist Stranded at Sea Because Shipping Company Went Bust Künstlerin sitzt auf Frachter vor Japans Küste fest

The Paris Review: It’s a Beautiful Day to Be Stuck on a Container Ship, and Other News

The Huffington Post Korea: 예술가 지원 사업으로 배를 타게 됐다. 그런데… 그게 한진해운 배였다

NPR: Bluff the Listener

Quartz: Thousands of sailors and a British artist are stranded at sea after a Korean shipping giant collapses

Roundhouse Radio: Evenings with Kirk Lapointe

Dazed: A British artist is stranded on a boat in the open Pacific

CNN: Artist stuck aboard ‘ghost ship’ in Pacific after cargo firm goes bust

BBC: How Hanjin’s collapse left a British artist stranded at sea

The Telegraph: British artist savours the ‘irony’ as she is stranded in Pacific Ocean after collapse of shipping firm

The Guardian: Waterworld: container shipper’s collapse leaves absurdist British artist all at sea

Vancouver Sun: Stranded British artist on Hanjin ship docks in Tokyo

Wall Street Journal: Stranded artist ends her adventure on Hanjin ship

Listen to artists Michael Drebert, Lili-Huston Herterich, Rebecca Moss and Sikarnt Skoolisaryaporn speak with Access Gallery’s Projects Coordinator Catherine de Montreuil about Twenty-Three Days at Sea on CiTR 101.9 FM:

CiTR 101.9 FM: Transmission from PLOT Episode, October 20, 2017

Discorder Radio: Twenty-Three Days at Sea, Chapter 2. (Radio Transcription)