It can take months for a cargo ship to cross from China to Europe. Over the course of the journey, it’s increasingly common for companies to transform ships into floating factories, where workers take advantage of the long crossing to complete a contract en route.
But The Column, a short fim by the Albanian artist Adrian Paci, is the first time we’ve ever been able to bear witness to the entire process. Paci hired a group of Chinese craftsman to complete a full-scale marble column on the passage from China to France last year. The resulting column was delivered directly to Paci’s Paris gallery, where it was shown alongside the documentary about its creation.
The (admittedly esoteric) installation was inspired by a friend Paci’s, who was working on a restoration project and needed a marble sculpture. Paci explains:
Somebody told him that it could be done in China, because they have good marble, good craftsmen, cheap labour, and they can be quick because they can actually do the work while the marble is being transported by boat. [...] It sounded so weird, simultaneously sick and fabulous, something mythological and at the same time in keeping with the capitalistic logic of profit—merging the time of production with the time of transport.
The teaser trailer, below, gives us a bit of context from the artist. But if you want to watch marble fly, head over to the official website for the full film.