Lottery of the Sea

Bay Area Premiere!
Allan Sekula in Person

Ports are “a theater of the world's connectedness,” says famed photographer and theorist Allan Sekula early in his admirable three-hour-long portrait of maritime culture. Packing a camcorder instead of a peacoat, Sekula sets forth on a salty voyage that takes him to Panama, Barcelona, Athens, New York City, Japan, and other locales that have a thriving seafaring life. Shipping law, the history of the Panama Canal, seaborne pollution, real estate speculation, the fate of stevedores, WTO protests are all critical cargo in a contained essay on the rising tide of global capital. Central to Lottery of the Sea is the notion that trade upon the pelagic is still a trade in “tangible goods,” a material fact that doesn't jibe with the weightless trafficking of information. The oceangoing life then becomes a safe-albeit romantic-harbor where resistance to piratical change is already implicit in its cultural myth. In one arresting episode, Galician volunteers meticulously clean an oil-oozing beach-it's as though the shoreline were being defended against an invasive wave of new capital.

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