Waiting for the sea

Carpets, soft shapes and kitsch furnishings, colours and patterns: in “A bordo”, Allegra Martin photographs passengers waiting areas in ferries, in a photo essay curated by Anticàmera.

Allegra Martin, A Bordo (detail)

Filling the time you wait with thoughts and actions is a very difficult art and something only the virtuous few can do, those who teach themselves patience (often the same people treat their bodies well, but not all the time) and enjoy the passing of time, without much effort. It is probably the first disappointment children learn. There is nothing to stop them from expecting and demanding what they want, yet waiting comes between what they want and what they are being denied. Still, the art of waiting is one of the most interesting conditions to explore. Because there is an irrefutable physical dimension – the place you wait – which is bigger than us, why does it take over our days, transforming them into the drop of water from Dino Buzzati’s story La Goccia, changing form and substance without allowing us to do anything else other than wait, or perhaps observe or let go until the waiting time has passed?

They say it’s as if we were suspended in time and it’s even more evident when we travel because it marks the in-between places of our journey, while our thoughts continue, flowing until suddenly, even abruptly, snapping us out of it bringing us back to reality or our point of arrival. Like the waiting room of a ferry from Portoscuso to Carloforte, Sardinia or the one from Landeyjahöfn to Heimaey in Iceland or from Brindisi to Valona, Puglia, these rooms are covered in carpet, stuck in the interminable Seventies, featuring soft shapes and vaguely kitsch furnishings, with bright colours and obsessive patterns that clash with the surrounding seascape, the same that we garishly try to contain or fill.

Img.11 Allegra Martin, A Bordo
Allegra Martin, A Bordo. Curated by Anticàmera

Like when Nanni Moretti strolled through the waiting rooms when he took the ferry to Lipari in Caro Diario, wandering among sleeping passengers and blue-and-white or red-and-white-striped armchairs with a cup of coffee, “I am sure something will happen in Lipari” or perhaps it won’t be that “I am only happy at sea, on the ride from an island I just left and another I still have to reach.” Like David Foster Wallace – it would be impossible not to quote him – in A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again as he goes to sea in the Caribbean with rich, or phoney rich, Americans, who according to the harsh way he tells the story, shaped our post-modern ideas of cruises, full of the over-sixty-five crowd in search of the last breath of youth. Or in the unforgotten Traveling through Italy photos by Luigi Ghirri, Gianni Leone and Enzo Velati, who describe Italy from random places, frontiers of daily life, the kind Gilles Deleuze would like. A Bordo covers today’s Mediterranean, just like how a literary travel magazine would, giving those who read it the choice, if they so please, to fill themselves with images or let them race by, as they wait to sail into port.

Text by Silvia Schirinzi

Img.12 Allegra Martin, A Bordo
Allegra Martin, A Bordo. Curated by Anticàmera

Allegra Martin, who was born in 1980 in Vittorio Veneto, Italy, lives and works in Milan. She graduated in architecture in 2007 at the IUAV of Venice, where she studied photography with Guido Guidi. Her work has been exhibited in Italy at Viasaterna Contemporary Art, Triennale di Milano, the Venice Biennale of Architecture, Forma in Milan, Macro in Rome, Fondazione Fancesco Fabbri, at the International Institute of Architecture i2a Lugano, Galerie f5.6 of Monaco, Breadfield in Malmo. Her website: www.allegramartin.it

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