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NTU CCA Singapore presents Fish Story, to be continued, bringing together for the first time in Southeast Asia an important body of works by the late eminent American artist and photographer, theorist and photography historian, Allan Sekula.

19th Jun, 2015

PRESS RELEASE: NTU CCA Singapore presents Fish Story, to be continued, bringing together for the first time in Southeast Asia an important body of works by the late eminent American artist and photographer, theorist and photography historian, Allan Sekula. This exhibition will juxtapose three chapters from Allan Sekula's ambitious project, Fish Story (1988 – 1993) alongside video essay, Lottery of the Sea (2006) and his last film, The Forgotten Space (2010) co-directed with American film theorist, Nöel Burch. These core works of Sekula’s research on the maritime world underlines his sustained argument that the sea is the “forgotten space” of the contemporary global economy.

The key project, Fish Story was created over a five-year period and considers global maritime trade as an integral part of capitalist market forces. Blurring the boundaries between academic essay, photography and socio-historical research, the exhibition Fish Story is structured in nine chapters, three of which are presented at NTU CCA Singapore. The opening chapter, Fish Story (Chapter 1) depicts travels from distant ports, focusing largely on the busy and abandoned harbour areas of California. Middle Passage (Chapter 3) charts the connection between the Atlantic and Pacific maritime space, in which millions of people from Africa were shipped to the New World as part of the Atlantic slave trade. Walking on Water (Chapter 9) closes the series and consists of slide shows produced in Warsaw during Poland’s establishment of the first post-communist government.

Lottery of the Sea, a geopolitical investigation of the contemporary maritime life takes the format of a long video-diary. The title is a reference to Adam Smith’s Inquiry into the Wealth of Nations (1776) in which he explored the concept of risk drawing examples from seafaring and sea trade. Inthis fragmentary essay, Allan Sekula explores the maritime economy from different angles. He combines his explorations of the sea with reflections on the effects of neoliberal policies and their resulting socioeconomic conditions. A critical examination of global capitalism, The Forgotten Space profiles the supporting figures of the global economy: truck drivers in Los Angeles, factory workers in China, and Filipino migrant workers. Both films are conceived as extensions of a wider research on the ocean and global maritime trade to which Sekula has committed during the last twenty years of his artistic practice.

Through its presentation in Singapore and engagement with the maritime histories of Southeast Asia, Fish Story, to be continued hopes to reflect on the history of Singapore whose port activities contributed vastly to her economical growth – an added chapter and continuation of Sekula’s important artistic research whose geographical expansion is open-ended.

Fish Story, to be continued will include works from the collections of Fond Regional d’art contemporain Bretagne, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York and Thyssen Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA 21), Vienna. The exhibition will be complemented by different events and interventions in The Lab and a film programme in The Single Screen. Fish Story, to be continued is situated under NTU CCA Singapore’s narrative of PLACE.LABOUR.CAPITAL. that draws from transdisciplinary research addressing the complexities of a world in flux and the network of connections that such underlying elements define at both local and global scale.

Curated by Ute Meta Bauer, Founding Director and Anca Rujoiu, Curator, Exhibitions.

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