After 25 Days at Sea, Artist Resident on Shipping Container Is Back in Tokyo

Rebecca Moss continued her work while stranded on-board the Geneva.

Rebecca Moss on the Hanjin container ship. Courtesy of Rebecca Moss, via Facebook.
Rebecca Moss on the Hanjin container ship. Courtesy of Rebecca Moss, via Facebook.

Rebecca Moss is back on land at long last. The 25-year-old British artist had signed up for a 23-day-long residency aboard the Hanjin Geneva, a shipping container travelling from Tokyo to Shanghai, but found herself marooned at sea when Hanjin Shipping Company declared bankruptcy on August 31, just a week into her planned journey.

Ports around the world moved to bar the Seoul-based shipping giant’s vessels from docking, out of fear that the company would be unable to pay port and service fees. Moss and the crew of the Geneva found themselves in a state of limbo, on a ship full of goods and cargo that suddenly had no destination.

Originally scheduled to land in Shanghai on September 15, the Geneva instead was forced to anchor about 13 miles off the coast of Japan. There she stayed until September 17, when, 25 days after departing Vancouver, the ship was finally allowed to make landfall in Tokyo.

“On dry land!” Moss Tweeted.

In Tokyo!

A photo posted by Rebecca Moss (@_rebecca.moss) on

“Rebecca is well and extremely excited as serendipitously, there are many wonderful Vancouver-based curators and artists currently in Tokyo that she had hoped to meet while she was with us,” said Kimberly Phillips, director of Vancouver’s Access Gallery, which organizes the Twenty-Three Days at Sea Travelling Artist Residency program, in a statement.

Despite the voyage’s unexpected difficulties, Moss was able stay focused on her work, which includes absurdist videos that feature her in bizarre scenarios. For obvious reasons, Moss’s practice actually proved quite well-suited to the Geneva‘s predicament.

A photo posted by Rebecca Moss (@_rebecca.moss) on

“My camera has barely left my side since I found out” about the bankruptcy, she told the Wall Street Journal in an email.

Meanwhile, Moss’s strange story has cast a light on the wider implications of the Hanjin bankruptcy, which could could have serious implications for global retailers whose products were being transported by the company. Though the Geneva has landed, hundreds of other ships in the fleet were similarly affected, and many of them remain stranded with both crew and cargo.

The residency description encourages participants to create work that deals with the “ubiquitous but… largely invisible world of the global shipping industry.”

See more photos of life stuck aboard the Geneva from Moss’s Instagram.

A photo posted by Rebecca Moss (@_rebecca.moss) on

8 days after the news was announced of Hanjin's bankruptcy….

A photo posted by Rebecca Moss (@_rebecca.moss) on

Massive anchor

A photo posted by Rebecca Moss (@_rebecca.moss) on

A photo posted by Rebecca Moss (@_rebecca.moss) on

A photo posted by Rebecca Moss (@_rebecca.moss) on


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