New Art Exchange
East Midlands

At the New Art Exchange in Nottingham Zineb Sedira shows Floating Coffins, a video and audio installation on fourteen monitors. The monitors relative to the ones you’d expect to see in a family home; somehow it gives a sense that it is supposed to be low profile; it feels comfortable and informal, allowing yourself to think although I found it quite frustrating to see the wires from the monitors dangling clumsily, it made me uncertain about the installation set up altogether; wondering if it was vital to the piece of the artwork. On walking into quite a large black out room the first thing I noticed was the unusual layout of sound equipment which dangles from the ceiling like extraterrestrial body parts, it immediately made me want to stand underneath them to engage in the sound specific to each visual.

Contextually I was drawn into the piece immediately, wondering about what it was documenting in terms of sentiment. I found myself escaping to this place I have never been, like in a fiction we read, but altogether conscious of the fact that we are not there at all, and so how can we possibly gain the sense of what Sedira is trying to show without these senses being viewed. I think Sedira thinks on a metaphysical level that we perhaps try to perceive, but still cant, I find it interesting to imagine the scale of perception and impact on a human at first hand viewing. Still, having said this I feel that I am criticising it far more than is necessary because the monitors bombard you with many aspects and perceptions which would make us think. If were to see the place in first person, information delivered through the senses becomes fragmented by other thoughts.

My feelings toward the subject in matter, as an artist studying society and the impact this has on the environment is quite strong, rusty coffins decaying in the sea, leaving behind oily residues having this dangerous impact on the environment as far as humans are concerned. The clip on a certain monitor perhaps takes me away from a wider context describes the waves washing up against the shore only to reveal changing oil slicks; made me feel like I wanted to erase that oil slick, every time the sea washed up, erase it, relieving the world of negative human impact.

On assessing the title further I considered a wider context, Floating coffins. In terms of ship wreckages, I suppose we could compare this to the decaying of a human. Indeed close up shots revealed flaking rust patched, which appeared to change and grow almost as some of the film speed altered. In essence the film shows something we seldom see in this country, something that is perhaps hidden from us. And the title we can perhaps relate to in terms of seeing these floating coffins rejecting the bulk of human waste, destroying it. It is a morally disturbing reflection to think of floating coffins in our western society, but yet here, Sedira’s work conveys the scattered debris, the consequence of a human, the consequence of our fast developing societies.