Surrounding Water

2013
Video installation, colour, English subtitles, and ice cube, cement, metal, synthetic
28 min, 16:9; Ice cube 46 x 46 cm; Ice cube plus sockle +/- 80 x 80 cm
Unique

This video installation is a result of a residency in Hastings (GB,) and Dunkerque (F), as part of Ici et là – Here and there and Les Grands Magasins, a trans-border and international art project that invited 1 artist of 7 port cities of Europe for Dunkerque 2013 (DK13, Capitale régionale de la culture). On that occasion I made two video installations, each part of my project that was inspired by the migration from France to the UK. This extreme situation of refugees and asylum seekers hiding themselves and trying to cross the Channel on one side, and yet arrived on the other side, presented me with an opportunity to continue with the ongoing process to intimately investigate the complex relations that people maintain with objects, identity and loss, fragility and (in)stability. The other video is No words.

The video Surrounding Water contains images of the sea, on a fishing boat and from the coastline, combined with interviews of the fishermen and the migrants and was partially projected on an ice cube.
The water, in the form of ice, seems to become more of a material object, but an object that can enclose, in the same way as a force of energy or a simple bottle. But in the meantime it is a black shadow in the middle of the projection on the wall behind it, where it continues to appear as a gap.

I spoke with local immigrants about their experiences of displacement.  The reality of their lives contrasted sharply with the traditional lives of the local fishermen; with their roots deeply fixed in one place; their old traditions and dealings with the sea, and all the objects they need for their way of life.

Photos and stills Bie Michels