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Seascape, Landscape, Bodyscape

Seascape, Landscape, Bodyscape


The video installation "Seascape, Landscape, Bodyscape" deals with the historiography of Portuguese colonialism. Between the 15th and the 19th century, the Portuguese colony of Angola, in West Central Africa, provided most of the slaves sent across the Atlantic to the New World. Today, with some of the world's largest proven reserves, Angola is the largest supplier of oil to Portugal, establishing yet again a similar situation of energy dependence.

A striking similarity between the historic slave trade and contemporary oil trade lies in the aesthetic experience of the commodified object (or subject): while African slaves were mostly sent to work in the Americas—the products of their forced labor being the only thing that reached Europe—today, petroleum is transformed into its many derivatives soon after extracted. Much as African slaves before, oil is mostly excluded from Western quotidian imagery.

Exploring the notion of the historical document and its claims of objectivity and universality for historiography, the video footage responds to the imperative to document an ongoing event and to shed light on its object—an oil tanker inbound from Angola in the harbor of Porto, Portugal and petroleum, in contrast to petrolatum (commonly known as petroleum jelly or its generic trademark Vaseline), probably the most intimate to us of its derivatives.

The footage provides visual complement to selected passages from "From Benguella to the Territory of Yacca", a travelogue documenting a Portuguese scientific expedition in Angola, led by H. Capelo and R. Ivens between 1877 and 1880.
  • Category : INSTALLATION
  • Year : 2015
  • Total Edition No : 1
  • Size : 500(W) x 200(H) x 200(D) cm
  • Posting : 2015. 05. 15

Share your thoughts

Nana & Felix

It would be great if we could see the video clip!
2015. 06. 11

Carrie Parker

I am very curious to see what are projected on screen. It must contain deep meanings of colonialism but very difficult to come across the meaning without video play.
2015. 06. 04