Ellen Hey writes poem for work of art ‘The Journey’

The poem ‘Law at Sea’, or ‘roving thoughts’ as Ellen Hey, Professor of Public International Law, calls it  is part of the artwork ‘The Journey’ by Rossella Biscotti (Italy). As part of the artwork, Biscotti will sink a large block of marble into the Mediterranean Sea in the spring of 2017.

Artworks of Rossella Biscotti (Italy) are currently on display as part of the exhibition ‘Positions #3’ at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven. Biscotti’s work focuses on forgotten social and political events. Based on meticulous research Biscotti reconstructs these stories and brings them back into circulation. Her work ‘The Journey’ reflects on the complex infrastructure and geopolitical circumstances affecting migrants in the Mediterranean Sea.

Biscotti asked Ellen Hey to contribute her thoughts to this unique artwork. In her poem/roving thoughts ‘Law at Sea’, Hey engages with international law as applicable to various acts and objects at sea.

‘Law at Sea’
‘Metamorphosed limestone, or marble, turns to sea, by an act that law metamorphoses into an act of dumping. The act requires a permit, based on international law.

Products cross the sea by plane, ship or pipeline to be traded freely, based on international law.

Fish may be taken from the sea and fishing regulated and subject to a permit, based on international law.

Minerals may be mined from the seabed subject to a permit, based on international law.

Archaeological objects in the ocean are protected, based on international law.

Where you are at sea determines who cares about you dumping, trading, fishing, mining or tampering with archaeological objects, based on international law.

A migrant turns to sea. She needs to get to the other side to apply for a permit that metamorphoses her into a refugee, based on international law.

Who cares about a migrant at sea and why?’

Ellen Hey
Professor of Public International Law
Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Please find the full poem of Ellen Hey attached at the bottom of this article. 

More information

From the catalogue of exhibition ‘Positions #3’

About artist Rossella Biscotti
Rossella Biscotti (born Molfetta, Italy, 1978) focuses on forgotten social and political events in her work. Following meticulous preliminary research she re-circulates these stories in her reconstructions. Biscotti won the Premio Michelangelo in 2010. The prize, the choice of a marble block from the Carrara quarry in Italy, is used as the starting point for a new work: The Journey (2016). Biscotti dropped the marble block into the Mediterranean Sea. Inspired by scientific research and oceanography, she will identify the blocks new location through analysing the environmental complexity of the Sicilian canal. She will overlap maps that trace historical commercial routes, migrant routes, artefacts and military deposit, analysing the morphology of the seabed in the international water between Italy, Libya and Tunisia. The second new work in Positions #3 is called Clara (2016), an installation around the rhinoceros, who became famous during 17 years of touring Europe in the mid-18th century and was transported to Europe by the VOC.

About Positions #3
Positions #3 presents new and existing work by Rossella Biscotti, Duncan Campbell, Maryam Jafri and Natasja Kensmil. Each of the artists draws on extensive research, translating empirical data through different modes of story telling, image making and historicization. They often deploy a rich selection of archival material and historical analyses evoking different economic, political, and social associations in the process. The resulting manifestations sit at the intersection of cultural anthropology and conceptual practice whilst drawing on a range of visual languages.

Source: https://vanabbemuseum.nl/en/programme/programme/positions-3/