La Ville Blanc | Die Weisser Stadt, 2010

4000 10x15cm C prints, 25 23x23cm Digital C Prints, 2 Channel Video Projections, Computer Projection, 11 Pedestals
Installation, Research, xurban_collective
Galerie de la Friche de la Belle de Mai, Marseille

The xurban_collective project at La Friche, Marseille constitutes a branch of ongoing research about seas as defined by various manifestations of the global trade and economy, and by the flow of bodies as a possibility for retributive justice. We believe that any statements made within the new global order should adequately represent the “negligibly small” actors in the creation of wealth, including the earth, the sea, and all living things.

When we look to the contemporary condition of port cities, we may recognize an urban pattern characterized by large-scale commercial and residential developments currently under construction. Old and new commercial ports, city centers, shopping areas, and old buildings are being rebuilt and packaged to cope with the transformation of the global economy. On the one hand, these cities — all situated next to the sea — try to establish their unique important position within the global marketplace, and on the other, their governing bodies together with investors/developers tend to ignore the livelihood of their residents by specifically excluding the poor, immigrants and everyone else who cannot afford to be the part of the new panorama.

In La Ville Blanc, we regard the sea as the transmitter of history (i.e. Mediterranean) and of wealth and culture as well as the source of biological richness. It is also the bearer of scourge, of oil spills and chemicals, and of invading jellyfish and the disappearing reef. On it, the oil tankers and container ships sail to the effect of millions of tons, accumulating and transferring immense wealth at all costs. Refugee boats also sail across sometimes to catastrophic ends either while at sea or at their destination. On all the charted and monitored waters of the world, these boats are the most invisible. The sea’s horizon metaphorically represents freedom, hope, and a decent life.