ALLAN SEKULA FISH STORY PDF

The trilogy continued in —6, with Geography Lesson: Canadian Notes, a reflection on Canada, its industrial economy, and its fraught relationship with its more powerful neighbour. Completed between and , the third instalment of this trilogy, the exhibition and book project Fish Story fig. The significance of the project was recognised soon after its appearance, yet it has been the focus of relatively little extended commentary since, despite being regularly described as a seminal work on the theme of globalisation. The whole ensemble was later exhibited at the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, in , and then at Documenta 11 in , curated by Okwui Enwezor, where it appeared considerably less isolated than at the Whitney Biennial nine years earlier, taking its place among a large number of photographic and documentary film works.

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The trilogy continued in —6, with Geography Lesson: Canadian Notes, a reflection on Canada, its industrial economy, and its fraught relationship with its more powerful neighbour. Completed between and , the third instalment of this trilogy, the exhibition and book project Fish Story fig.

The significance of the project was recognised soon after its appearance, yet it has been the focus of relatively little extended commentary since, despite being regularly described as a seminal work on the theme of globalisation. The whole ensemble was later exhibited at the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, in , and then at Documenta 11 in , curated by Okwui Enwezor, where it appeared considerably less isolated than at the Whitney Biennial nine years earlier, taking its place among a large number of photographic and documentary film works.

Staten Island Ferry. New York Harbor. While commodity chains have proliferated exponentially, their links have become both more numerous and more fragile as a result of such trends as the dissociation of brand ownership from factory ownership, and the relocation of factory work to ad hoc, clandestine Export Processing Zones in the global South as well as subterranean sweatshops in the North.

This is true enough of advertising and the mass media. However, large sections of the art world of the s, basking in the glow of commodity aesthetics, had done little to effectively counter these myths that is, where a similar investment had not, at least tacitly, been made.

The first chapter goes on to focus largely on both the busy and abandoned harbour areas of California, including an empty shipyard after its use as a location for a Hollywood film shoot fig. Two Years After Closing. Los Angeles Harbor. San Pedro, California. The conveniences of a raised standard of living and the twin impositions of Fordist work and leisure are here inseparable.

Abandoned Shipyard. Terminal Island, California. Not merely because of its placement, the very first image of Fish Story as a whole, in fact, provokes just such an attempt fig. It shows the Staten Island Ferry binoculars, minus the boy, directed through the window of the deck towards another ship in the hazy middle distance, the metallic sheen of the casing reflected in the same window back towards the viewer.

Nudging the view a little to the right, the second image reveals a pocket of urban dereliction just across the river, shielded from the museum by a row of apartments. Architect: Frank Gehry. Tourism itself and, by extension, the rise of the service industries in general cannot accommodate, nor can the touristic view disguise, the impoverishment of post-industrial decline, of which evidence abounds in Fish Story, from the scavengers of Los Angeles harbour to the long queues of a Gdansk unemployment office.

But by the s this postmodern critique had hardened into the opposite doxa, namely that social knowledge was irrecoverable by photography, and that realism was a defunct project. Above all, this means to recognise the inherent contradictions of a complex and continuously changing world-system, and indeed to insist on contradiction as the very locus of change. Within each titled chapter of photographs, the images display a wide range of types, so that no single pictorial mode predominates.

There are microscopic close-ups as well as panoramas and, between the two, there are highly detailed and carefully composed views of a variety of oceanic, coastal, factory and shipyard scenes. On land the viewer is privy to these mostly unseen frontier towns for the global circulation of containers, within which individual people occupy a variety of positions.

Often absent, obscured or incidental, sometimes central, mostly at work on specific tasks, and occasionally dwarfed by some hulking industrial apparatus, the subjects include welders, dockers, market traders, scavengers, rescue workers and fishermen, as well as the unemployed, children and families.

Sekula here offers a model of photographic visibility that, by recognising its own inescapable inadequacy, thereby strives to be adequate to the magnitude and complexity of the subject at hand.

While the texts bookend the photographs in the publication, partition walls demarcating the different chapters in the gallery allow for a degree of variation in the spatial arrangement of texts among images without relinquishing that clarity.

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Growing up in San Pedro, the immense port of Los Angeles, Sekula gravitated to the sea as a space of freedom and hard, sweaty work. As important, the contemporary maritime world was a site of rapid changes in modern technologies from traditional bulk holds to enormous container ships and accompanying cranes, which reduced much labor on the seas and in the ports while also greatly increasing global trade and outsourcing of manufacturing to sites of cheaper labor. Thus Sekula, grandson of a Pennsylvania railroad blacksmith, found himself wanting to redirect attention to this largely ignored field of work and commerce in the age of more glamorous air travel and high-speed global communication networks. An unashamed Marxist, he consistently invoked the centrality of the labor theory of value.

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Allan Sekula

Fotografiska Museet Stockholm , Moderna Museet Stockholm , Nederlands Fotomuseum , Tramway Glasgow With the exhibition Fish Story, American artist Allan Sekula reconstructed a realist model of photographic representation, while taking a critical stance towards traditional documentary photography. Though there is a long artistic tradition of depicting harbors, ships and coastlines, few contemporary artists are continuing it. In Fish Story Sekula picked up this tradition, demonstrating the history and future of maritime space not only as a visual space but also as a socio-economic one. Fish Story was his third project in a related cycle of works that deal with the imaginary and actual geography of the advanced capitalistic world. A key issue in Fish Story is the connection between containerized cargo movement and the growing internationalization of the world industrial economy, with its effects on the actual social space of ports. Since its conception, Sekula sought to build the project cumulatively, exhibiting and publishing Fish Story as a work in progress. Fish Story also included two slide sequences of 80 projected slides each: Dismal Science and Walking on Water.

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ALLAN SEKULA FISH STORY PDF

Faedal Allan Sekula — Fish Story There is all the more risk, then, for the photographer who makes this their theme, that particular circumstances will come off as the passive illustration of immutable historical forces, and that his or her individual subjects will read as helpless victims. Allan Sekula — was a renowned photographer, filmmaker, theorist, photography historian and critic. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library. If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.

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