Notes on Allan Sekula for Art in America

Notes on Allan Sekula

McLuhan liked to be known as someone who probed, never took a position but rather always learned and discerned, just continued to probe and respond. I think of Sekula in this way too, he continually probed deeper into his subject to tell a complex story.

Ninety percent of goods are still moved by sea. The sea makes physical a near global exchange that the Internet makes virtual. Sekula describes a network of ports through different communications devices including text, photography, and video. He documents the sea, focusing on “objects of globalization” such as cargo containers: everywhere, mobile and anonymous: ‘coffins of remote labor-power’ carrying goods manufactured by invisible workers who labor all around and far away. And then there is the sea and revolution – from mutiny to unions to the other side of the spectrum of deregulation, and the maritime industry’s role in distribution of commodities worldwide.

I’ve been responding to networks in a different way, working on projects that (while they are material and based in storytelling) are built to supplement and augment existing local and non-geographic networks. I’ve been working in zones on the periphery of the water and land. These zones have potential to bring together a site and community, they can bring people to nature on the edge of the city and bring the interdependency between the natural and the urban to the forefront.