When Faith Moves Mountains
(c)Image: M HKA
Chiropractor's Life-Size Model of a Human Vertebrae (The Dockers' Museum, object nr. 41)
Object , 82.5 x 32.5 x 25 cm
During the last three years of his life (2010–2013) the American artist Allan Sekula worked on an artist museum that accompanied his essayistic ensemble Ship of Fools. The Dockers’ Museum contains a gigantic collection of various objects, graphic images, postcards, and prints which the artist purchased, mostly online. This is a large-scale project, where the image of the world is translated from the perspective of the dock labourer. The Museum was initially intended to collect the objects without hierarchy and complete documentation, instead paying attention to the potential of ‘minor’ objects and the links they create. It gave a vision of the world from the perspective of the docker, being the link between land and sea. Sekula dedicated this work to both historical and contemporary labour solidarity in and around the docks and touched upon a series of topics that became sections of the museum. There is a large Atomic Bomb Section, for example, because dockers were amongst the people who were outside when the first bombs fell on two Japanese harbour cities. One section consists of a single object: the Human Spine Section. The Chiropractor's Life Size Model of a Human Vertebrae included in the collection becomes the collective image of hard labour through the demonstration of the compression of the spines.
Every historical event, such as war, lives on in a variety of artifacts. Some of them find their place in museums, while others linger in people’s memory, hearts and homes. And a human body itself becomes a remembrance, as a witness to global challenges in history and our personal stories.