exhibitions highlights

Conversations with a Shipwreck Digital Exhibition

3-4-2021 through 6-5-2021
Adam Davies, Starboard, 2019 (detail)

THU—March 4, 2021 THROUGH SAT—June 5, 2021
*This exhibition will be online in an interactive digital format.*

Beginning Thursday, March 4, Scandinavia House Online is proud to introduce the interactive digital exhibition Conversations with a Shipwreck with a haunting, multimedia meditation on the Swedish warship Vasa, created in word and image by ASF Fellows Joan Wickersham and Adam Davies. Through presentations of poems and large-format photographs, with short durational video and audio, this digital art and literary exhibition responds to the legendary warship — which sank only minutes into her maiden voyage — exploring themes of memory and oblivion, technological triumph and fiasco, permanence and impermanence, mortality and time.

Available through www.scandinaviahouse.org, Conversations with a Shipwreck is a unique collaboration by two award-winning artists inspired by a mysterious vessel that was both destroyed and preserved by catastrophe.

In this unique interactive platform available through June 5, viewers will have the opportunity to experience a series of video pairings between Davies’s photographs and Wickersham’s prose poems, while also exploring information about the Vasa ship’s history and video introductions to each artist. Wickersham’s pieces – both intimate and urgent — weave together Vasa’s story and the personal associations it ignites. Davies’s photographs, made using a large-format camera, present monumental and intricate evocations of the ship and her artifact, as well as related sites around Stockholm. Words and images play off each other, taking the viewer out of the present day into an ambiguous time — not literal or historical, but “other” in a way that expresses the protean nature of Vasa and her story — bringing viewers into the presence of an absence.

The exhibition also highlights the ASF Fellowships & Grants programs, which demonstrate the Foundation’s longstanding commitment to educational cultural exchange. ASF Fellow Joan Wickersham is a writer and National Book Award finalist whose work has been acclaimed for its emotional fierceness, structural innovation, and elegance of language; her memoir The Suicide Index has been described as “an extraordinary magical mystery tour of a book” (The Los Angeles Times) and her most recent book of fiction, The News from Spain, has been hailed as “an ode to heartbreak and regret” (The New York Times). ASF Fellow Adam Davies is an award-winning photographer whose large-format film photography explores architecture, social systems, and public spaces.

Said David Tomkins, Writer/Editor of The Chinati Foundation, Marfa: “There’s an enigmatic quality to Davies’ images, and to the places they depict. The pictures bear a trace of something a bit uncanny because the places they depict are quietly but insistently someplace else-or at least the threshold to someplace else . . . maybe a little magical, maybe a little cursed.”

The launch of Conversations with a Shipwreck will be accompanied by a prerecorded conversation between Joan Wickersham and Adam Davies, moderated by Darcy Frey, Director of Creative Writing at Harvard University.

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