The Forgotten Space

Allan Sekula, Noël Burch

This video is no longer available

Allan Sekula and Noël Burch, The Forgotten Space (still), 2012.

e-flux presents Me, You, and Everyone We Know The Forgotten Space
Allan Sekula, Noël Burch

112 Minutes
Courtesy of Icarus Films, New York

June 23–July 6, 2021

Join us on e-flux Video & Film for an online screening of Allan Sekula and Noël Burch’s The Forgotten Space (2012), streaming from Wednesday, June 23 through Tuesday, July 6, 2021.

The forgotten space of Allan Sekula and Noël Burch's essay film is the sea—the oceans through which 90% of the world's cargo now passes. At the heart of this space is the container box, which, since its invention in the 1950s, has become one of the most important mechanisms for the global spread of capitalism.

The film follows the container box along the international supply chain, from ships to barges, trains, and trucks, mapping the byzantine networks that connect producers to consumers (and more and more frequently, producing nations to consuming ones). Visiting the major ports of Rotterdam, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Guangdong province, and many places in-between, it connects the economic puzzle pieces that corporations and governments would prefer remain scattered.

We meet people who have been reduced to cogs in this increasingly automated machine—the invisible laborers who staff the cargo ships, steer the barges, drive the trucks, and migrate to the factories, and whose low wages form the base of the entire enterprise. The film also introduces us to those who this system's efficiency has marginalized: the longtime unemployed occupants of a California tent city, Dutch farmers whose land is bisected by a new high-speed train line, and the displaced residents of Doel, Belgium, whose city is slated for demolition in order to expand the port of Antwerp. Employing a wide range of materials and styles, from interviews to classic film clips, essayistic voiceover to observational footage, The Forgotten Space provides a panoramic portrait of the new global economy and a compelling argument about why it must change.

The Forgotten Space is presented here as one of four films in Part One | Socio-Economic Systems (Hatred for Capitalism), the first of four programs in the online series Me, You, and Everyone We Know: Interrelationality, Alterity, Globalization programmed by Irmgard Emmelhainz for e-flux Video & Film. The series will run in four thematic parts from June 23 through August 18, 2021. Each part will include a two-week group screening, and a live discussion.

For more information, contact program [​at​] e-flux.com.

Migration & Immigration, Capitalism, Film, Borders & Frontiers, Globalization
Documentary, Water & The Sea
Return to Part One | Socioeconomic Systems (Hatred for Capitalism)

Allan Sekula (1951-2013) was an American photographer, writer, filmmaker, theorist and critic. From 1985 until his death in 2013, he taught at California Institute of the Arts. His work frequently focused on large economic systems, or "the imaginary and material geographies of the advanced capitalist world.” He received fellowships and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Getty Research Institute, Deutsche Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD), Atelier Calder and was named a 2007 USA Broad Fellow.

Noël Burch (b. 1932 in the US) has been living in France since 1951. He graduated from the Institut Des Hautes Etudes Cinèmatographiques in 1954. While primarily known for his theoretical writings, he has always positioned himself as a filmmaker and has directed over twenty titles, mostly documentaries. Burch has been publishing since the 1960s. Among his numerous publications are his first and best known book Theory of Film Practice (New York: Praeger, 1973), and To the Distant Observer: Form and Meaning in Japanese Cinema (Berkeley, 1979).

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.