Directed by Charles Heller and Lorenzo Pezzani, 17 min, 2014
Liquid Traces offers a synthetic reconstruction of the events concerning what is known as the “left-to-die boat” case, in which 72 passengers who left the Libyan coast heading in the direction of the island of Lampedusa on board a small rubber boat were left to drift for 14 days in NATO’s maritime surveillance area, despite several distress signals relaying their location, as well as repeated interactions, including at least one military helicopter visit and an encounter with a military ship. As a result, only 9 people survived.
In producing this reconstruction, our research has used against the grain the “sensorium of the sea” – the multiple remote sensing devises used to record and read the sea’s depth and surface. Contrary to the vision of the sea as a non-signifying space in which any event immediately dissolves into moving currents, with our investigation we demonstrated that traces are indeed left in water, and that by reading them carefully the sea itself can be turned into a witness for interrogation.
As a time-based media, the animation also gives form to the Mediterranean’s differential rhythms of mobility that have emerged through the progressive restriction of legal means of access to the EU for certain categories of people and the simultaneous acceleration of the flows of goods and capital.
This animation was first produced for the exhibition “Forensis” at the House of World Cultures, Berlin, in March 2014. It is part of the research project Forensic Architecture – funded by the European Research Council and hosted by the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Directed by CHARLES HELLER and LORENZO PEZZANI
Based on THE “REPORT ON THE ‘LEFT-TO-DIE’ BOAT” by CHARLES HELLER, LORENZO PEZZANI and SITU RESEARCH, 2011 (with the techincal support of DONALD FEURGUSON, LAWRENCE FOX III, RICHARD LIMEBURNER, ROSSANA PADELETTI)
Graphics by SAMANEH MOAFI
Animations by SAMANEH MOAFI and MANUEL JIMENEZ GARCIA
Sound “MUSIC FOR LOOM” BY JAMES WYNESS and SOUND SAMPLES FORM THE “LISTEN TO THE DEEP OCEAN ENVIRONMENT (LIDO)" PROJECT, LABORATORY OF APPLIED BIOACOUSTICS, BARCELONATECH, UPC
Sound design USF PROD and GOON KID
Produced with support from HAUS DER KULTUREN DER WELT, BERLIN and FORENSIC ARCHITECTURE (ERC), GOLDSMITHS, UNIVERSITY OF LONDON
Thanks to RAPHAËL CUOMO, MARIA IORIO, MANUELA HONEGGER, LAURENT JESPERSEN, ADRIAN LAHOUD, RICHARD LIMEBURNER, SWANN THOMMEN, EYAL WEIZMAN, GIULIA ZANINI
This work could not have been produced without the support and collaboration of all those who have been seeking justice for this case