In conjunction with PAMM’s new permanent collection exhibition, Global Positioning Systems, curator René Morales selects “The Forgotten Space,” a film by Allan Sekula and Noël Burch that explores the sea, that forgotten space where the real, human impact of globalization is most visible. The film follows the journey of container cargo across urban landscapes and countryside, elucidating the marginalizing effects of the global transport system.
Still from "The Forgotten Space" by Allan Sekula
The Forgotten Space follows container cargo aboard ships, barges, trains and trucks, listening to workers, engineers, planners, politicians, and those marginalized by the global transport system. The viewer visits displaced farmers and villagers in Holland and Belgium, underpaid truck drivers in Los Angeles, seafarers aboard mega-ships shuttling between Asia and Europe, and factory workers in China, where low wages provide the fragile key to the whole puzzle.
Sekula and Burch employ a range of materials: descriptive documentary, interviews, archive stills and footage, clips from old movies. The result is an essayistic visual documentary that clarifies a mind-bogglingly complex system that affects us every day. The Forgotten Space is based on Sekula’s Fish Story, which explores the contemporary maritime world in relation to the complex symbolic legacy of the sea.
Allan Sekula (1951-2013) was an American artist, photographer, writer, filmmaker, theorist, and critic based in California. His work critically engages questions of social justice and globalization, shedding light on what he described as “the imaginary and material geographies of the advanced capitalist world”.
Born in San Francisco in 1932, filmmaker and author Noël Burch has been living in France since 1951. He graduated from the Institut Des Hautes Etudes Cinèmatographiques in 1954. His numerous publications include Theory of Film Practice (1973) and To the Distant Observer: Form and Meaning in Japanese Cinema (1979).