Collection / Works / Yellow Limbo by Uriel Orlow

UK, 2010
15 minutes Colour, Sound (stereo)
BluRay, HD Digital file

Available for hire / Hire this work

Yellow Limbo interleaves vintage photographs and Super8 film shot by crewmembers of 14 cargo ships stranded in the Suez Canal for 8 years with the artist’s own recent footage on location and a series of inter-titles that provide a fragmentary narrative as well as explode into a larger historical context. The three-way comparison of events and image sources, disembodied from the timeline of experience, creates a complication of concurrence, consequence and dissociation, giving rise to a sense that time is pleated, causality radiating and that this rippling expanse of saltwater somehow communicates diagonally through time.

Yellow Limbo relates to an incident that unfolded during the outbreak of the Six Day War, in 1967 between Israel and Egypt. As a result of heavy artillery fire and sunken trawlers at either end of the Suez Canal, 14 cargo ships of various nationalities were stranded for eight years in the Great Bitter Lake, a large body of water at the canal’s midpoint where ships pass one another before re-entering the one-way traffic. While stranded, the cold-war political allegiances of the multi-national crews were dissolved and gave way to a form of communal survival and the establishment of a social system that mirrored the evolution of civilisation in microcosm. The ships’ 1968 onboard Olympic Games converted what Noam Chomsky has referred to as the ‘irrational jingoism’ of the official Olympics into a pan- national gesture of resilient, playful solidarity.

Supported by Pro Helvetia, Arts Council England, Campagne Première, Gasworks