Marcel Odenbach

Im Schiffbruch nicht Schwimmen können (Foundering, And You Can’t Swim) (2011)

HD Video, 8’ 23”, colour, 16:9, stereo audio

Introduction by curator Olaf Stüber

Migration is as old as the human being itself. The modern human started to migrate form Nothern Africa around 100.000 years ago. The major migration traveled along the coast of Arabia and Persia to India and the rest of South Asia, they crossed the Beringia land bridge between eastern Siberia and present-day Alaska to enter America and they even crossed the ocean to reach Australia and New Zealand. Always looking for better conditions of live, but also for luck and greed. Nothing could stop the modern human, neither natural barriers nor artificial frontiers.

Why should the human being stop to move to areas with better conditions of living nowadays? Why should he stop trying to escape from war, crime or poverty? Why should the human mankind suddenly stop to explore and exploit other regions? With rights or without rights. What should stop him? Human rights? Nations? Capitalism? The migration will go on and nobody will be able to stop it. All frontiers are vain and short-term attempts as long as the conditions of living are not everywhere the same.

In Marcel Odenbach’s film Foundering and you can’t swim three Africans are sitting in the Louvre Museum in Paris and contemplate one of the museum’s most renowned paintings: The Raft of the Medusa by Théodore Géricault. The painting portrays one of these moments when the human mankind is thrown back to its pure, brutal and merciless will to survive: 15 of 174 remaining survivers of the noble French marine and colonial power, crazed, parched and starved 13 days adrift on a raft. They just survived slaughtering mutineers, eating their dead companions and killing the weakest – and they moved forwards.

About the artwork

The work was available 12 October – 1 December 2017.

Online Exhibition