Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Port City: On Mobility and Exchange

This astounding exhibition at Arnolfini looks at the migration of people and international trade from the perspective of a city which is also a port.

Ursula Biemann's work needs quite a while to appreciate as you find yourself sitting in the midst of eleven simultaneous documentaries. Headphones enable you to tune into the soundtrack of individual films but it is the lack of commentary that stirs. Each film, whether an interview with a new Tuareg or a satellite view of a people movement, is presented raw.

Viewers find themselves in the middle of the story.

Elsewhere, learn about the non-native plants growing in Bristol dockside because the seeds were transported in ballast which was then dropped illegally to avoid ballast tax. Maria Theresa Alves' work is fascinating

And enjoy Sweetness, by Meschac Gaba, a city which includes many of the world's great buildings, all made entirely of sugar.

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