STROPHE, A TURNING
2017
2 channel video, loop
37 minutes

“Strophe - a turning. The lines of a poem or part of the ode sung by the
Greek chorus while turning.”

Ellie Ga’s Strophe, a Turning (2017) opens with her quoting the Russian poet Osip Mandelstam who compared launching a message in a bottle to the act of writing a poem to an unknown reader. Taking cues from from both a bottle at sea and the beachcomber who eventually hap-pens upon it, the artist initially developed the work out of her interest in how drifting objects have been used to chart sea movement. But her willingness to drift and follow uncertain turns, carries her unexpectedly to the Greek island of Symi, and then to the shores of its neighbor Lesvos, during the summer of 2015. Ga is confronted by the mutable context of these islands, and decides to join a team of volunteers aiding asylum seekers and refugees—a definitive turn-ing point at which she is forced to wrestle not only with the poetics of accidental drift and the new discoveries it beckons, but with urgent political and humanitarian realities with which she confronts, processes, and situates within a nuanced and complex history of endurance, faith, and indeed, chance.

Watch the beginning of Strophe, A Turning here

Read a review in the Brooklyn Rail.

Read a review in the November issue of Artforum.

Strophe, A TurningStrophe, A Turning Video Still Strophe, A TurningStrophe, A Turning video still install viewinstall view Bureau, New York