Harbours are a key enabler of globalization. Asian ports have grown as world commerce expanded, and offshoring became widespread. Today a large percentage of manufactured goods begin their journey to consumers in an Asian port and shipbuilding has become a purely Asian craft.
In this context the artist explores harbours across Asia, reflecting on the nature of the infrastructure, its defining elements and interaction with sorrounding urban areas. Busan, Ulsan,, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Jakarta, Quingdao , Tokio, and Kaohsiung are part of this series that aims to capture the soul of these places, where sea water, steel, and concrete converge in the territory.
These visions have technology as a unifying trait and automated machinery as the defining characteristic that denationalizes the images. There is an eerie commonality between ports across Asia, homogenity and automation are the conducting visual features: from cranes to engines, from containers to tugboats, from wharfs to Panamax… all locations are interchangeable, awash with technology, by-products of globalization, lacking the human heritage that purports the long standing cultural traditions of the inhabitants of their nations.
Asian ports command a new language; one that conveys globalization, ocean and freight as main standing pillars. We, humans, become mere operators dwarfed by the sheer scale of the infrastructure. It is a story of men harnessing the sea, port technology enabling land – sea interchange and urban sprawl encroaching to very border of the machine-dominated vast landscapes that dot the Asian coastline.
Marta Sabin Miralles de Imperial