Julia Stoschek Collection

Ocean II Ocean

Cyprien Gaillard
2019 / HD video / colour / sound

With his film work “Ocean II Ocean” (2019), Cyprien Gaillard builds a bridge between geological prehistory and the urban present of our current era. The combination of highly visual recordings, flowing movements, and atmospheric sounds has a suggestive effect.

Bird's eye view of a dark blue sea surface. The water flows in a spiral.

Cyprien Gaillard, Ocean II Ocean, 2019. HD video, 10'56", colour, sound. Video still

© Cyprien Gaillard Courtesy of the artist and Sprüth Magers. On loan from the JULIA STOSCHEK FOUNDATION, Berlin/Düsseldorf

  • 10 min 56 sec

Cyprien Gaillard’s video work “Ocean II Ocean” is divided into two sequences. In the first part, it is fossils that are embedded in the walls of subway stations in Russia and in the former Soviet Union that are the focus of the camera. These witnesses tell of the prehistoric histories of terrestrial locations. Coming from many different eras, they now exist alongside each other on an equal basis in these politically charged locations.

The second section of the film focuses on decommissioned MTA subway cars on their way out to the Atlantic Ocean where they will be sunk into the water to form the substrate for future reefs. The camera follows the marine life below the surface of the water as it moves between the steel carriages. The frantic energy of the film’s soundtrack, which Gaillard produced from samples of recordings of a steel pan orchestra, brings together these steel cadavers with the percussive sound of the same material. The steel pans, originally from Trinidad and Tobago, will be made from decommissioned oil barrels whose original contents have a connection both to the extraction of fossil fuels as well as to the pollution and the ecological collapse of the underwater world. “Ocean II Ocean” illuminates the recurring tidal movements of the oceans and the interrelatedness of the earth with human history. It thus removes the separation between human beings and nature and opens up the view beyond the borders of the human era and right into the depths of geological consciousness, into a past that existed long before human existence and, at the same time, suggests that the future will do the same.