Akeroyd Collection


Martha Atienza, Migration N 50°42’31.08” W 028° 54'57.65, 2017

This migration work is one of two video works, both shot on the North Atlantic Ocean. The sea is heavy and swelling as the camera stays still, observing the environment from the deck of a moving ship. The horizon is hazy in each film and the vastness of the ocean is emphasized with no land in sight and the overcast sky feels oppressive. The conditions of the ocean are commanding respect from its human travellers. The scene is poetic and mysterious, yet unsettling. The film inspires reverence for nature. There is no narrative to speak of, just the forward motion of the journey, shaped by the elements, the long duration, in real-time, offering space for questions rather than answers, much like being on the sea ourselves. We might ponder how terra-centric our histories and political geographies have been. How narratives of life on land inform and shape how histories have been told and understood. But what of the role of the sea; in trade, in exploration, in colonization? How has the sea given shape to human societies and their development? The power of the sea is often considered in natural terms only, but it has played its part in the social and political development of the world in powerful ways, too. Not least of all in the way people, either through slavery or migration, have been at the mercy of the political powers that command the oceans. The sea has its stories to tell, and Martha Atienza makes us ponder them as we contemplate the ocean’s power.

Mediumsingle-channel HD video, no sound
Duration63 minutes, looped
Editionof 6