If We Were the Sea
If We Were the Sea grew out of a desire to steep in the journey home to Vancouver by way of land and sea. It marked the end of a year-long exploration of family diaspora and displaced cultural identities in Taiwan, China and Malaysia. The photographs were collected as a passenger aboard the ALMAVIVA container ship from Port Kelang, Malaysia, through the Suez Canal, across the Mediterranean and Atlantic to the Port of Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Inside a familiar piece of Vancouver’s identity as a major port city, If We Were the Sea asks us to reflect on our own resilience, what ultimately sustains us, and how we navigate the hidden dependencies in our changing environment.
Weaving together recordings, maps and other objects collected along the way, If We Were the Sea, examines the complexity and fragility of the sea that both connects and divides us. The exhibit explores the environment aboard the hundred-thousand-ton freighter and the experiences of its thirty crew members as they make their passage across invisible time zones, navigating the demands between camaraderie and interdependence, expansiveness and isolation.
April 1-30, 2018 (extended to May 10th)
Viewable 24/7, Interactive on Fridays 12-5pm
320 Carrall St, Vancouver, BC, Canada
49° 16' 55'' N 123° 6' 16'' W
Unceded xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) & səl̓il̓wətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Territories
Part of the Capture Photography Festival
Thank you to the crew of the CMA-CGM ALMAVIVA for their kindness, and their openness to having a peculiar passenger roam, curious and keen to learn.
Thank you to Hamish Jamieson in New Zealand for answering all of my questions about travelling by freight ship.
Thank you to Alex and Kris of the BC Marine Employers Association for lending the container lashing materials used in the installation.
This series was collected on six rolls of black and white film graciously tracked down in Kuala Lumpur in the weeks before boarding the ship. If you ever find yourself in KL, Bang Bang Geng is a gem of a shop supporting analog photography in the city.