Reverse Shot, 12.01.2017

Thirteen Men
Michael Sicinski

(...) Just as Scheffner revises the motion-study film to provide an analytical view of our global present, rather than the distant past, he also adopts the tropes of the seascape in order to pose a vital sociopolitical question. Why are we so fascinated by the ocean as a subject for art? Western aesthetic theory since Kant would tell us that we are enraptured by the ocean because its apparent limitlessness creates for us the fear and awe associated with the Sublime. But Havarie’s fixed frame and excruciating slowness defiantly impose limits upon the Mediterranean. It becomes a hurdle, a border, a possible site of death. And while as per Kant, the threat of death, too, can evoke the Sublime, we cannot avoid the fact that this threat of death is not evenly distributed across humanity. Only the weakest and most defenseless among us—those 13 souls struggling for survival on that motorboat—are expected to face the enormity of the ocean in this manner. (...)
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