Creativity will truly set out to sea in 2016 with ZIM’s Container Artist Residency project
By James Brewer
Commercial cargo shipping and fine art are getting together in a unique project called Container Artist Residency 01.
The initiative comes from one of the top container lines, ZIM Integrated Shipping Services, which is inviting visual artists to produce their works “while voyaging into the heart of international commerce.”
Israel’s biggest cargo carrier boasts on its website: “For ZIM’s highly skilled and professional staff, there is no cargo challenge that cannot be met.” Now the challenge is for fine artists to find their sea legs.
The Haifa-based group, which had an annual turnover in 2014 of $3.4bn, serves 180 ports, so the winning artist will be in for an interesting and inspiring time. ZIM carried some 2.36m teu in its 70 services that year. It is headed by president and chief executive Rafi Danieli.
ZIM plans to host the seaborne artist residencies in early 2016, and the project will culminate in seven international exhibitions from September 2016 to June 2017.
Container Artist Residency 01 will provide seven artists with a fully-funded trip of one to three weeks on board a cargo vessel on a route of their choice. Each artist will receive studio space for working, and accommodation in the ship’s cabins, in addition to an honorarium, return travel allowance, and production budget.
“The artists are expected to explore their practice within this exceptional environment, with the aim of producing artworks that will be exhibited in a travelling exhibition, “ said the company. The exhibition will open in September 2016 in New York City, after which it will be presented in six cities around the world, ending in Tel Aviv.
A jury consisting of Maayan Strauss (artist and founder of Container Artist Residency), Prem Krishnamurthy (founding principal of graphic design firm Project Projects, and founder and curator of New York exhibition space P!), Sofia Hernandez Chong Cuy (curator, Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros), Niels Van Tomme (curator of the Bucharest Bienniale 2016), and Xiaoyu Weng (associate curator, Guggenheim Museum) will select the seven artists from submissions received by the deadline, November 9.
The residency is open to visual artists regardless of career stage and experience. Candidates working across all media, including sculpture, painting, installation, performance, photography, video, and digital art may qualify.
A statement from the organisers said: “Container Artist Residency identifies the shipping industry as a driving cultural and economic force in the contemporary world and encourages artists to rethink their practice with this unique perspective.
“By rendering existing infrastructures as new environments for artistic production, ZIM and Container Artist Residency hope to provide artists with a different outlook and a meaningful opportunity for professional and artistic development.
“Working at the dynamic intersection of industry, technology, and culture, Container Artist Residency 01 seeks to forge new connections between individual practices and vast global networks.”
Anchored in the context of shipping routes, “yet without a fixed physical location, Container Artist Residency foregrounds global commerce as the artist’s immediate work environment.”
The inaugural edition of the residency is curated by Mr Krishnamurthy.
Ms Strauss is a New York-based multidisciplinary artist. She says that her practice examines infrastructures, labour, and new platforms while reflecting on the nature and conditions of contemporary artistic production. Her other projects include the Sushi Bar gallery in Brooklyn, and Art Handler, a new magazine exploring behind-the-scenes working practices in the art industry.
She has exhibited in museums and galleries including the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Storefront for Art and Architecture, Andrea Meislin Gallery, and the Shenzhen Architecture Bienniale.
According to its website, ZIM operates around 80 vessels, of which 13 are fully or partly owned, serving 180 ports of call “with 10 strategically located hubs.” Most of its services are on a weekly, fixed-day basis, “covering all major trade routes with regional connections.”
There are around 4, 200 employees, with regional headquarters at Haifa; Norfolk, Virginia; Hamburg and Hong Kong. ZIM has more than 170 offices and representatives in over 100 countries, including a strong presence in China with 10 offices and hundreds of employees.