Vertigo Sea

Opening: All The World’s Futures / 56th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia

May 2015

Three channel HD colour video installation, 7.1 sound 48 minutes 30 seconds

Director: John Akomfrah

Producers: Lina Gopaul and David Lawson

A meditation on the aquatic sublime, Vertigo Sea brings together a collection of oblique tales and histories that speak to the multiple significances of the ocean and mankind’s often troubling relationship with it. Touching upon migration, the history of slavery and colonisation, war and conflict and current ecological concerns it is a narrative on man and nature, on beauty, violence and on the precariousness of life.

Shot on the Isle of Skye, the Faroe Islands and the Northern regions of Norway, and including footage from the BBC’s Natural History Unit, Vertigo Sea draws upon two remarkable books: Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick (1851) and Heathcote Williams’ epic poem Whale Nation (1988), a harrowing and inspiring work which charts the history, intelligence and majesty of the largest mammal on earth.

With sweeping and hypnotic imagery of the aquatic and cetacean worlds Vertigo Sea washes in waves over its audience, bringing with it the traumas, memories and the hopes of a fractured world.


La Biennale



The Exchange, Penzance

Turner Contemporary