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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:
4441
Artist:
The Otolith Group
Date created:
2010
Date acquired:
2012
Fonds:
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
Object type:
Media
Media:
Single-channel video, colour, sound, 31 min 41 s
Credits:
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
Copyright:
© The Otolith Group
It has accessibility resources:
No

The MACBA Collection features Catalan, Spanish and international art and, although it includes works from the 1920s onwards, its primary focus is on the period between the 1960s and the present.

For more information on the work or the artist, please consult MACBA's Library. To request a loan of the work, please write to colleccio [at] macba.cat.

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One always arrives to at something which one can no longer depict.
Dieter Roth