Remco de Vries
Hogeschool voor de Kunsten, Utrecht,
Gigantic container ships enter port every day. You would not directly associate these ships with our consumption behaviors. The harbor is the only place where all the stuff we buy comes together one last time before it gets sent off to the hinterland. Ships and containers are an expression of globalization. They are the reason behind our cheap T-shirts and discounted televisions. Ironically, the camera I work with also comes from this mass economy. But who looks behind the TV and sees the ship that brought it? How ironic that the more ships have grown in size and consequence, the less space they take up in our imagination. 9 private companies on earth dictate how our economy is shaped, and there is a big chance you haven’t heard of them. When companies hold so much power, and there is no government agency to take that power back, it results in crippled economies or growth at the expense of a country’s prosperity.
Everyone is concerned about working conditions, so we want to buy ethically responsible products. But how responsibly are these goods shipped? Are the so-called “economies of scale” actually achievable with these gigantic container ships? “The Heavy Loads of Our World” consists of a series of photos and a video in which I try to expose an invisible industry, their way of shaping the global economy and reflect on our consumption behaviors. I do this with extensive research about the routes the ships sail, their CO2 emissions, and more.