A SPACE BETWEEN SPACES
SEAMENS' CHURCH INSTITUTE PHILADELPHIA
SONGS, VIDEOS, COLLAGE, EXHIBITION, CONCERT
"...the boat is a floating piece of space, a place without a place, that exists by itself, that is closed in on itself and at the same time is given over to the infinity of the sea and that, from port to port, from tack to tack, from brothel to brothel, it goes as far as the colonies in search of the most precious treasures they conceal in their gardens, you will understand why the boat has not only been for our civilization, from the sixteenth century until the present, the great instrument of economic development (I have not been speaking of that today), but has been simultaneously the greatest reserve of the imagination. The ship is the heterotopia par excellence."
-Foucault : 'Of other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias'
In 2012 Cecilie Beck went to Philadelphia to see the Danish School Ship that had crossed the Atlantic Ocean. Her cousin was the machine ingenieur at the ship. As prominent officials from the city were enjoying their wine and hor d'oeuvres at the deck one evening, she was told about a priest who had visited the ship in the morning. Father Bill was working for the Seamen's Church Institute in Philadelphia - a place with priests from all religions; priests who's job it was to tend to every ship that came to the harbor; sailors from all over the world.
The next day Beck contacted Father Bill and asked him, if she could follow him around. She went with him to the ships that visited the harbor from countries far away, and she met sailors who lived in solitude; in a space between spaces.
See more below slide show...
Like the American prison system (with its infamous racist private businesses) run the slavery of the modern world, Beck realized that the ships hosted poor men from developing countries all over the world. She greeted the men on the dock walk ways - quickly realizing she was the first woman some of them had seen for weeks, sometimes months. They were stumbling towards a break from the dangerous conditions on the old and rusty tankers. The marine life holds a firm hierarchy and many of the workers told her how they would not communicate across their positions. Each man was there all by himself away from his village that could not offer work so he could
provide for his family. And there he was, stranded in a space between spaces participating in the most
dangerous kind of trade; a process that goes on behind the scenes. In the ocean. At the time, Beck felt that she was constantly moving and she found herself being in-between spaces - knowing where she came from but not necessarily where she was going.
Beck went through the archives of the Seamen's Church in Philadelphia and found old news paper prints from where she created collages for an exhibition. The show was exhibited onboard a ship in a harbor of Copenhagen (Nyhavn) and later that day she released an EP in an old church in the city (Litteraturhaus). September 2nd 2014.