In its singular exploration of life on board a cargo ship sailing from Southern Italy to Sweden via Portugal, England and Ireland, Nashashibi’s latest film presents a contemporary version of seafaring whose precedents lie in historical literature, painting and films. Her influences range from the novel Mason & Dixon by Thomas Pynchon – charting the story of two Englishmen travelling to America in the 17th Century to plot the state boundary line between Maryland and Pennsylvania – to Jean Vigo's luminous 1934 film, L'Atalante.
Nashashibi sees the ship’s company as the ultimate closed community. Operating under a hierarchy strictly adhered to and headed by the absolute authority of the ship’s master, the community’s off-shore condition gives it the semblance of a floating independent state. The film’s rhythm develops from the intensity and claustrophobia inside the ship, counterbalanced by the empty expanse of the ocean and extreme weather conditions. Three different modes of capturing the ship and its crew can be identified: a close and direct observation of the dynamics of individuals in a confined environment; a rich and dream-like rendering of the light and movement of the voyage; and a heavily characterised framing of the ship as animated machine and protagonist.
Rosalind Nashashibi was born in 1973 and lives and works in London. She studied at Glasgow School of Art, the California Institute of the Arts and Sheffield Hallam University.
An ‘In Profile’ monographic DVD will be published by the artist.
Picture This in collaboration with Chisenhale Gallery are commissioning, producing and touring this work. Additional funding received from the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
The realisation of Bachelor Machines Part 1 was made possible in part by the American Center Foundation and Grimaldi Line. Thank you to the Master and Crew on the Grimaldi vessel Gran Bretagna.