Hydra Decapita, 2010

HYDRA DECAPITA evokes the underwater world imagined by the Detroit-based electronic duo Drexciya, inhabited by the descendants of the Africans who were thrown overboard from slave ships, such as the Zong, during its crossing or ‘Middle Passage’ of the Atlantic in 1781. This atrocity was carried out with the aim claiming insurance payment for ‘cargo’ lost at sea. The film’s reduced visual language, focusing on the ocean and accompanied by contemplative electronic music and voices, weaves together three historic references: the Zong; Turner’s painting The Slave Ship (1840), which alludes to the horrific event; and critic John Ruskin’s analysis of the painting. With the slave trade serving as an allegory, Hydra Decapita combines mythos and history to contemplate the entangled relationships between power, death, globalisation, abstraction and our contemporary system of finance capital.

Technical details

Original title:
Hydra Decapita
Registration number:
The Otolith Group
Date created:
Date acquired:
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
Object type:
Audiovisual recording
Single-channel video, colour, sound, 31 min 41 s
Edition number:
Edició de 5 + P.A.
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
© The Otolith Group
It has accessibility resources:

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