The Blackest Sea

2016, 9:30 min, color, sound, HD video

Collaging appropriated CGI-animated clips from the Taiwanese news outlet TomoNews, The Blackest Sea juxtaposes the sky and sea as primordial phenomena against the anxious, bureaucratic features of modern human life. Hundreds of fish die and float to the top of the ocean due to pollution and rising temperatures; a deep-sea diver discovers a ceramic pot on the ocean floor; Syrian refugees flee across the ocean in tight-packed quarters, and a group of surfers spot the great white whale. By recontextualizing apocalyptic footage that is at once hyperrealistic and surreal, Ahwesh magnifies the ever-shifting relationship between news documentations of current events and the circumstances that produce them. Writes Peggy Ahwesh: “My intention is to force the source material to point back to itself and lay bare the gap between that sketchy cartoon world and reality.”

Music: Passacaglia, for Organ and Strings, K. 11 by Ellis B. Kohs. Images: Taiwanese Animators, News Direct and Tomonews US.

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