‘Container’ Carries Migrants’ Journey Into Virtual Realm at IDFA

1 December 2017


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South African duo explore modern-day slavery through VR, video art

A harrowing journey across the high seas comes to life in “Container,” an ambitious cross-media project being pitched at IDFA Forum this year.

Directed by Simon Wood and Meghna Singh, “Container” takes a hybrid approach to documenting the experiences of migrants risking everything in search of a better life, presenting their stories through a unique combination of virtual reality and installation art.

Through the metaphor of the shipping containers used to transport millions of tons of cargo each year, the creators wanted to shed light on “the circulation of commodities and people…trapped in modern-day slavery,” says Singh. “The very notion of slavery is when human beings are turned into commodities.”

The project was inspired in part by the fateful journey of the São José Paquete de Africa, a Portuguese slave ship that sunk off the coast of Cape Town in 1794. Discovered decades ago by treasure hunters – who long believed it to be the wreckage of a Dutch merchant ship – the São José’s significance became apparent in 2010, when researchers realized it was being used to transport slaves from Mozambique to Brazil before striking two reefs and sinking to the bottom of the sea. Read the full article in Variety here.