Rule of Three
Swimming Cities of Switchback Sea
Interactive art, performance art, public art, sculpture
In 2008, seven handcrafted vessels sailed down the Hudson River, past the jagged contour of New York’s skyline. Each of the large-scale structures was formed from a plethora of materials, including plywood, plastic foam, and recycled motors. On board each sailing boat was a group of artists: musicians, actors, and filmmakers, among others. Creative performances broke up the journey, as the entourage made various stops over the course of their miniature tour. Each spectacle contributed to the multifaceted nature of Swimming Cities of Switchback Sea, an artwork that acts as sculpture, performance, and installation all in one.
Words by Sophia Martin-Pavlou
by Tobias Lindholm
A cook on board a Danish merchant ship calls his wife and child, keen to be reunited with them. Their optimism is at odds with the film’s title; the crew’s homecoming will not be an easy one. Somali pirates seize the vessel, taking the workers hostage. Back at company headquarters, the CEO agonises over ransom figures, accepting advice from kidnap experts but remaining resolute that the final decisions are his to take. Despite the million-dollar talks, the technology used is basic office fare: telephones and fax machines. All the while, the cook and his colleagues are divided, bruised, and broken. Hints of hope magnify the horror; their ordeal lives on, whatever deal is tabled.
Words by John Wadsworth
designed by Ole Scheeren
In a milky lagoon off the coast of Thailand, a fleet of wooden rafts is neatly assembled. Together, they form a buoyant auditorium that gently bobs up and down, facing a screen placed in the audience’s eye line. As night falls, title sequences begin to roll. The cinema throws off brilliant light, illuminating the towering rock faces that envelop the spectators, dancing across the lulling waves. The onlookers’ senses are enlivened as a cool breeze whistles around the coastline, and the tide softly laps at the edges of the platform. The films that they watch may be seen elsewhere, but the viewing experience is a far cry from that of your local multiplex.
Words by Katherine Fieldgate
More to discover
Swimming Cities of Switchback Sea: You can read an interview with Swoon by Apostolos Mitsios for Yatzer, and an article about the artwork by Julie Bloom for The New York Times. You can also watch a video of the artwork here.
A Hijacking: You can watch the trailer here.
Archipelago Cinema: You can see more images of the Archipelago Cinema on Büro Ole Scheeren’s official website, linked here. You can also read an interview with Scheeren by Christopher Turner for Icon Magazine, and watch a TED Talk by Scheeren titled 'Why great architecture should tell a story' here.
Swimming Cities of Switchback Sea’s vessels, A Hijacking’s ship, and the Archipelago Cinema all float.<
Question of the day
The Old Man and the Sea, a novel by Ernest Hemingway. The protagonist spends much of the novel floating in his fishing boat. (→)
– John Wadsworth, Silent Frame's Editor-in-Chief (via Patreon →)