On Seven Ships, Artists Join the Crew

From t. left to b. right: Bastashevski, Coburn, Van Balen & Cohen, Diebboll, Gr?f, Page and Young

By MarEx 2016-02-24 20:42:26

Seven commercial vessels will have an unusual addition to their crew complement on voyages this year: resident artists.

The Container Artist Residency, in conjunction with ZIM Integrated Shipping Services, has announced the winners of an open call for applicants for its first-ever artists' residencies at sea program.

The awardees this year are Tyler Coburn, Erin Diebboll, the team of Tuur Van Balen and Revital Cohen, Ferenc Gróf, Christopher Page, Samson Young, and the award-winning photojournalist / fine art photographer Mari Bastashevski. They will all receive funding for up to six weeks of sea time (as passengers), with “studio space” and a cabin aboard, plus production funding and a stipend.

2,000 applicants submitted their portfolios and chosen ports of call for the program.

Artist and gallerist Maayan Strauss, director of the program, said that “the artists were selected based on their individual areas of investigation. It was important to us to maintain a range of approaches, in order to highlight the status of artists as producers in general — not only a certain kind of practice or subject matter. While the project takes the maritime shipping industry to be the embodiment of the infrastructures on which contemporary art relies . . . we are looking forward to seeing how this specific context for art-making can impact different kinds of practice.”

The artists’ chosen medium varies from writing to installation art to video, and their destinations are as varied and far-flung as global shipping allows, with port calls from Valencia to Norfolk, Nansha to Colombo, and Istanbul to Port Klang.

Curator Prem Krishnamurthy spoke to the proposed content of the work in an interview with FlashArt, and it is as varied as the disciplines and destinations. “Some of the artists are addressing the context of commercial shipping . . . head-on, whereas others are considering the residency from the perspective of having solitary time to work. Others are actually using the opportunity to carry works or materials from one place to another,” he said. But all were selected for the ability to interact with the industry. “Many of the artists have a research-based methodology that is interested in looking at how to critically insert themselves into institutions, structures, and supply chains.”

The names of the vessels selected to carry the winners have not yet been released.

Portrait composite courtesy Container Artist Residency