Peter Hutton has spent nearly 40 years voyaging across the world to create meditative, intimate and luminously photographed film studies of place. At Sea (2004-2007, 60 min.) depicts the life cycle of a container ship — from mechanized construction in a Korean shipyard, to a late winter journey across the Atlantic, and ending with the manual labor of ship breakers on the shores of Bangladesh. The title of the film evokes a loss of perspective, a metaphor born from the experience of a sea journey and its ability to strip us of our sense of scale, time and distance. At Sea is a sweeping meditation on global commerce, labor, geography and the experience of merchant ship travel in the 21st-century. Accompanying the film is a highly detailed model depicting the ship-breaking of an industrial tanker. Commissioned specifically for this exhibition, it may be the only such model of its kind in existence.
Support provided by donors to the 2011 FreePort Fund and by the East India Marine Associates of the Peabody Essex Museum.