Grande Spagne 2
by Kathleen Herbert

Image of sunset throuh open ship window


  • 1Still from Grande Spagne 2
  • 2Still from Grande Spagne 2
  • 3Grande Spagne 2 installed in Huller Warehouse as part of Thinking if the Outside

Still from Grande Spagne 2


Kathleen Herbert’s Grande Spagna 2 documents a three-day voyage by the artist from Antwerp to Bristol aboard a cargo ship. Accompanied by a crew of 28 and a cargo of 5000 cars, Herbert gained a rare insight into the realities of contemporary seafaring.

Grande Spagna 2 takes the form of an 8 monitor DVD installation featuring a series of details recorded during a three-day voyage aboard a cargo ship travelling between Antwerp and Bristol. The artist accompanied 28 crew members on the voyage, gaining a rare insight into the realities of contemporary seafaring.

The artist combined her observations on the voyage with research at the Seafarers' Mission at Royal Portbury Docks in Avonmouth, a vast industrialised area some distance from Bristol city centre. The resulting work describes the solitude and sense of disorientation for seafarers often far away from home, signed up for 4 to 6 months with only the time between tides in port. Herbert records the imprint of the individual: a man struggling to hoist a flag, a table tennis bat and breakfast table, whilst the monotony and mechanisation of contemporary trade routes is reflected in the synchronisation of the giant windscreen wipers and the labyrinth of ship's corridors.


Year 2005
Duration Variable (between 1 and 4 minutes)
Medium 8 monitor video installation
Original format
Screening format MPEG-2 DVD
Aspect ratio
Audio Yes
Colour / B&W Colour
Screens 8


Co-commissioned as part of Thinking of the Outside by Picture This and Bristol Legible City in association with Situations.

Screening history:

21 May - 03 July 2005
'Thinking of the Outside'
Huller Warehouse, Redcliffe Backs, Bristol, UK

Related Items:

Kathleen Herbert

Kathleen Herbert uses the medium of performance and documentary to question and engage with the historical and contemporary functions of space.