Adrift by Isabelle Hayeur at les Percéides Festival
Grande rencontre des arts médiatiques en Gaspésie
5th edition, August 16-18, 2019
Les Percéides – Festival international de cinéma et d’art de Percé
Opening reception: August 16th, 5 to 7:30 PM
Centre d’art de Percé, 162 Road 132, Percé (Quebec) G0C 2L0
Adrift (2019) probes our relation to water, underscoring both its vital importance and the troubling recurrence of ecological disasters. This experimental video was filmed in the murky waters of the New Jersey’s Chemical Coast. Located near the former Fresh Kills landfill this toxic shore is also the largest boat cemetery on the Eastern Seaboard. This uncanny, desolate place is the final resting place of numerous wrecks of all varieties and several eras: ferries, barges, fishing boats, even old steam tugs. Their hulks slowly rot away in the mud of Arthur Kill, a refinery-lined inlet still busy with tankers.
Since 2008, Isabelle Hayeur has filmed and photographed aquatic landscapes across North America. She documented them from an unfamiliar vantage point, eschewing capture from shoulder height. These views from the inside create a relation of closeness between the onlooker and the site being documented. They take us closer to these environments by plunging us in their midst, as it were.
In Adrift, Hayeur has observed dying ecosystems where the shortage of dissolved oxygen is making life precarious. These desolate expanses are suffused in a wavering light endowing them with a strange, disturbing beauty. This behind-the-scenes look at industrial development, revealing its hidden side: its dark underbelly, may offer a glimpse of an unsustainable capitalist economy’s eventual shipwreck.