Deepwater Horizon: Exhalation

A trilogy of the two interwoven sea fates of traditional Japanese female divers and the biggest 21st manmade disaster explores the language of body in reality/imagination and femininity in the age of Anthropocene.

 

The Ama divers, live in a disappearing small community of Shima Peninsula within its 2000-year history. An unconventional female role in the Japanese society, the Ama is translated as the “sea woman” in English. They hunt for seashells, seaweeds, and pearls with their distinctive breathing technique; releasing air when they return to the surface of the sea which sounds like a long whistle. 

 

A found footage of the divers in 1963 which focuses on a female group of topless free-divers. With their vitality and allure, they have one clear purpose to catch their prey although they are conscious of the presence of the camera. The original footage is reedited and juxtaposed with the visual and sound of a sonar record from Deepwater Horizon oil spilling disaster. Sonar is a machine for marine archeology as well as petroleum excavation, and it saw a significant development during the WWⅡ. Dramatic tension in the narrative is ignited; The nostalgic beauty of Ama is countered by the prelude of the modern catastrophe implied in the inanimate data of the sonar.

 

As the form of a trilogy, during an interval between each chapters, a 3D animation of sea waves is screened, guiding audiences into deep sea with the enigmatic sound of exhalation and whispers. The contrast between the grainy documentary and computer generated moving-image, as well as the real and imagery space oscillate each other within the structure.

​3D animation by Tigris Li

 © 2019 by Asako Ujita

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