Journey With A Container – A Thought Provoking Tribute To Seafarers
A staggering 90% of all that we own has made its way to us via a shipping container. For those who live in Suffolk, the Port of Felixstowe, the largest of its kind in the UK, offers a glimpse into the scale of the industry and is a feat of engineering that enables global free trade. The port’s cranes dominate the skyline and containers stack high, blocking much of the port’s workings from public view. Yet, we know little of the lives within and rarely see those whose job it is to navigate the mass transportation of goods.
It is this seemingly invisible movement and the hidden lives of the seafaring communities that are the focus of this latest exhibition by visual artist Yva Jung.
Commissioned by the Pier Projects Art Agency and hosted by Landguard Fort, the exhibition, Journey with a Container, has the perfect backdrop and invites viewers to consider their own relationship and proximity to the mass movement of food, objects and, indeed, people.
A newly commissioned film provides the focal point of the exhibition. We witness Jung take her own journey with a miniature wooden container that she pulls along with a rope. The artist is seen struggling against the elements to make it travel along different terrains, including a beach at Old Felixstowe, nodding sensitively to the arduous physical conditions often experienced by seafarers.
Drawn from interviews that took place during the height of the pandemic when seafarers were isolated on their vessels and could not return home, the artist encounters a mother-seafarer and a port chaplain. Through these dialogues, whether voiced or voiceless, Jung reveals the sacrifices made on these journeys, the reasons they do this work and the impact on their families.
Accompanying the film are several sculptural elements and text, including a container filled with personal items replicating those packed by the female seafarer prior to her journeys. Indicative of Jung’s personal approach to the development of the exhibition, these familiar toiletries and other belongings give an insight into the disparity of what can be taken on the journey against the magnitude of what and who is left behind.
The exhibition, which launches during the Festival of the Sea, runs from June 17 to September 1.