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Nowadays 93% of international commerce moves by sea.

Project Information

What can fit in a 48-foot box? Anything. Everything.This is the thought trail that inspired Manuel Alvarez diestro to reflect on sea freight containers and develop these collection of images captured across Asian ports.

Nowadays 93% of international commerce moves by sea. Billion tones are transported, ocean freight is forecasted to grow 4.7% annually for the next decade. Today, containers have become a core element of globalization, enabling commercial interchanges of various nature from far fetched locations.

Sea freight containers when placed in the Asian mega harbours create new landscapes where they rival the surrounding nature and the cities that we build.

The photographers personal angle is to portray a mechanical world where containers are piled in the thousands and are moved and relocated by port operators that we canot see. Standarization at its peak where everything has a square shape.

The overwellming presence of containers and space optimization in a constrained territory manifest the idea that we are ruled by the dictatorship of the box, the new canon that gives shape to the modern world we live in.
They also bring colourful geometries bordering the water, globalization at its zenith. Nevertheless the essence of containers is standarization, across countries, cultures and means of transportation. The transnational discourse summarized in a standard steel box, as case of mutual understanding, of easiness to do business, the staple of international commerce.

When retired they are found in the most ackward places. In this world standarization, the artist further reflects around the content of those seafreight containers. What do they keep?

They are enigmatic spaces that withold the nature of its content: electrical appliances, mangoes, medicines, laptops, toys, clothes, avocados, furniture, wine, machinery, vehicle parts, books. All stacked up together, all classified, all travelling to different destinations, all alien to their surroundings, anonimous in darkness and waiting to be consumed by one of us.