The Ship of Empty Boxes: Symposium & Screening

Still from The Forgotten Space, Allan Sekula & Noël Burch, 2010

Still from The Forgotten Space, Allan Sekula & Noël Burch, 2010

THE SHIP OF EMPTY BOXES: Responses to Containerised Global Trade 
(including 6pm screening of The Forgotten Space by Allan Sekula & Noël Burch)

Saturday, 18 January 2014, 10:30am-8pm, Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image, Birkbeck Cinema, 43 Gordon Square, WC1H 0PD London

Free event. Please book via Eventbrite

Delta Arts is co-organising this event with Dr Sophie Hope (Department of Film, Media and Cultural Studies, Birkbeck and Delta Arts Advisory Panel member), and Dr Alex Colas (Department of Politics, Birkbeck).

The complex maritime routes of containerised trade are perhaps the hidden plumbing of globalisation. Common estimates suggest about 90% of the non-bulk cargo being transported worldwide is moved via container shipping. The economic, social and environmental consequences affect many lives around the world. This one-day symposium brings together the disciplines of art, anthropology, international relations, law and geography to explore the significance of the shipping container, maritime trade and labour conditions in the context of globalisation.

The symposium aims to identify different approaches and understandings of containerised global trade in order to allow overlaps between legal, social, cultural and environmental narratives to occur. The materiality of the container, the labour conditions of those who service the industry, and corporations’ diligent use of multiple legal jurisdictions will be considered. Through presentations, screenings and discussion we will investigate further the impact that the global standardisation of the twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) has had on human and non-human existence and how in turn it might be re-imagined and re-shaped.

The one day symposium includes contributions from artist Simon Faithfull, Dr Douglas Guilfoyle (Reader in Law, University College London), Professor Philip Steinberg (Professor of Political Geography, Durham University), Dr Olivia Swift (economic anthropologist who specialises in seafarer welfare) and will include a screening of The Forgotten Space, by Allan Sekula & Noël Burch.

 The symposium draws on and aims to develop current research into the sea, containerisation and globalisation being carried out by the organisers of the event: Dr Sophie Hope (Department of Film, Media and Cultural Studies, Birkbeck), Dr Alex Colas (Department of Politics, Birkbeck) and not-for-profit arts collective Delta Arts (Amy Lloyd, Curator, Educator, Emma Smith, Artist, and Oliver Sumner, Curator & Learning Specialist).

The Ship of Empty Boxes is supported by the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image and Delta Arts.

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