John Akomfrah: Vertigo Sea

Vertigo Sea, a three-screen film, first seen at the 56th Venice Biennale, is a sensual, poetic and cohesive meditation on man’s relationship with the sea and exploration of its role in the history of slavery, migration, and conflict. Fusing archival material, readings from classical sources, and newly shot footage, the work explicitly highlights the greed, horror and cruelty of the whaling industry. The work comes to Towner with the context that the location of the gallery on the southern coastline of England, along the constantly changing boundary between land and sea, is a significant vantage point to look outwards and think about the interrelationship between the local and the global, of coastlines as places of encounter, trade, exchange and colonial histories.

Jointly owned by Towner Art Gallery and Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum of Wales. Acquired with support from Art Fund, the Derek Williams Trust, The Search Foundation through the Contemporary Art Society, and Towner Collection Development Fund. Acquired in 2019.

Image: John Akomfrah, Vertigo Sea, 2015. Three channel HD colour video installation, 7.1 sound. 48 minutes 30 seconds. © Smoking Dogs Films; Courtesy Smoking Dogs Films and Lisson Gallery.

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