the port / matthew buckingham: obscure moorings
satellite gallery presents a new exhibition, the port / matthew buckingham: obscure moorings, that looks at the points of contact between the maritime worker and the port city and, by extension, the maritime worker’s place within the urban economy.
In Obscure Moorings—Matthew Buckingham’s film installation based on Herman Melville’s short story Daniel Orme—a sailor’s last days are spent in Liverpool, a once vital seaport which, like Vancouver, is being dramatically redefined by social and global economic change. Buckingham writes that without “using words the pictures and sounds juxtapose different archetypal sites from Liverpool’s city-scape, allowing places and their respective ‘pasts’ to resonate with and contradict each other.” The wave of change that impacts inhabitants of most port cities is akin to the drastic change that befalls Daniel Orme as he transitions from sea to land. This wave of change is physically manifested by Buckingham as the platform on which viewers sit when watching his film. An impressive curvilinear wave, the platform fills the Satellite’s largest exhibition space.
Alongside Matthew Buckingham’s installation is a companion presentation of objects and archival materials related to Vancouver’s own history as a port. Social spaces within our city catering to the moral wellbeing of maritime workers (along with those engaged in gratifying their more venial needs) are represented—from images of the Seamen’s Institute and the Sailors’ Home (which later became a brothel) to the model ship that hung for decades on the wall of the Marine Club. The conflicts between maritime workers and business interests are also explored, as are the ways in which many of the traditional functions of a port are increasingly at odds with the escalating economic value of waterfront property.
Mathew Buckingham is based in New York. Utilizing photography, film, video, audio, writing and drawing, his work questions the role that social memory plays in contemporary life. His projects create physical and social contexts that encourage viewers to question what is most familiar to them. Buckingham’s work has been shown extensively throughout Europe and North America, including exhibitions at ARC / Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris; Camden Arts Centre, London; The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC; Hamburger Bahnhof, National Gallery, Berlin; Kunst-Werke, Berlin; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitechapel, London and The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
The Port / Matthew Buckingham: Obscure Moorings is curated by Cate Rimmer, Charles H. Scott Gallery, ECUAD.