Venice 2019 – Swiss-Icelandic artist Christoph Büchel transforms places, objects and architectures with a strong social and political relevance into art or monuments in order to trigger reflection and spark conversation. At the last Venice Art Biennale he turned a former church into Venice first mosque ever; last year he campaigned to preserve the prototypes of Trump’s US-Mexico border wall as a monumental reminder our our times. This year he brings to the 58th Biennale di Venezia BARCA NOSTRA, the fishing boat that sank between the Lybian coast and the city of Augusta, Sicily, killing hundreds of migrants.
Titled BARCA NOSTRA, which means Our Ship in Italian, the art project “is a relic of a human tragedy but also a monument to contemporary migration, engaging real and symbolic borders and the (im)possibility of freedom of movement of information and people.”
- RELATED STORIES: read more sensible architecture and design projects related to the migrants and refugees emergency on Archipanic…
Bringing the relic of the Mediterranean’s deadliest shipwreck to Venice is set to be talked about as Italy’s far right government has been criminalizing NGOs ships rescuing migrants at see as well as interdicting them to shore on Italian coasts.
“BARCA NOSTRA is an inversion of a Trojan Horse in the ongoing battle of contemporary political strategies wherein the vessel of those who were literally imprisoned inside it as human cargo becomes pars pro toto for the continuing migration crisis and the political and cultural shipwreck of which we are all part.”
The relic was recovered from the seabed in 2016 and brought to a NATO base in Sicily where a team of forensics worked on the identification of the hundreds of bodies still imprisoned within its hull.
After a bureaucratic odyssey and numerous never realized proposals to exhibit the fishing boat in Italy and abroad, Barca Nostra will be on show at the Venice Biennale thanks to Christoph Büchel, the Comitato 18 Aprile, an association established to preserve the memory of the tragedy, and the Assessorato Regionale dei Beni Culturali e dell’Identità Siciliana. The vessel will return to Augusta after the Biennale.
All images, courtesy of © Barca Nostra. Video by Sirio Magnabosco / © BARCA NOSTRA.
- RELATED STORIES: read more about Venice Biennale 2019 on Archipanic…