A new media installation reflecting on the socio-political contexts and responses to the current Mediterranean migration crisis.
On the early morning of the 6th of November 2017, the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (MRCC) based in Rome received a distress call from an inflatable boat located in international waters approximately 30 nautical miles north of Tripoli. MRCC Rome requested assistance from all ships in the region to locate and aid the sinking vessel that was carrying between 130 and 150 African migrants. A patrol boat of the Libyan Coast Guard, an Italian Navy helicopter, a French Navy warship, and the German non-governmental organisation (NGO) rescue ship Sea Watch 3 responded to the call.
Ongoing tensions between the Libyan Coast Guard and various NGO rescue ships operating in the Mediterranean Sea surfaced, and what reportedly should have been a routine search and rescue operation quickly descended into chaos. The lack of coordination and ensuing confrontation resulted in the confirmed deaths of at least five migrants, including a young child, but it is estimated that over twenty people drowned during the incident. According to news agencies, 58 survivors were rescued by the Sea Watch 3 and some 45 migrants were returned to Libya by the Libyan Coast Guard. Those saved by the Sea Watch 3 were subsequently handed over to European authorities while the fate of the individuals taken by the Libyan Coast Guard in this and many other similar operations remains a debated issue.
Sea Watch is a new media installation that reflects on the socio-political contexts and responses to the current Mediterranean migration crisis. Constructed from news media coverage and documentation footage from the actual incident, the work seeks to create a contemplative space not only considering the event in question, but more importantly, the humanitarian issues and ethical debates surrounding Europe's present policies concerning migration and border security.
• international news media articles concerning the 06/11/2017 search and rescue operation involving the Libyan Coast Guard and the Sea Watch 3
• publicly available video and radio channel recordings from the Sea Watch 3 captured during the 06/11/2017 incident
v1.0: Adriana Alves, Ingunn Nord-Varhaug and Eva Watne [ curation ] . Bjørnar Hesby, Kari Margrethe Meek and Sveinung Nygaard [ production ] . Emma Puente [ installation support ] . Type Creative Ltd [ digital printing services ]
v1.1: Prof Aaron Rosen [ curation ] . Emma Puente [ installation support ] . Rev Carolyn Rosen [ hospitality ] . Type Creative Ltd [ digital printing services ]
Sea Watch is a 2019 commission by Hå Gamle Prestegard for its Zero Tolerance exhibition.
Site-configurable new media installation constructed from: algorithmic video and soundscape (Flash executable, Windows 10 micro-computer, 1080p projection and stereo audio system); and 16 digital transparency prints.