Bachelor Machines Part 1
by Rosalind Nashashibi

Ships mast at dusk with pink clouds and the moon in background


  • 14 minute extract from Bachelor Machines Part 1


  • 1Film still from Bachelor Machines Part 1
  • 2Film still from Bachelor Machines Part 1

Film still from Bachelor Machines Part 1


A 16mm film by Rosalind Nashashibi set on a cargo ship sailing from Southern Italy to Sweden via Portugal, England and Ireland. In its singular exploration of life on board, Nashashibi's film can be understood as a genre piece presenting a contemporary version of seafaring whose precedents lie in historical literature, painting and films.

The work stems from the artist's interest in these depictions of ocean life and voyages. Her influences range from the novel Mason & Dixon by Thomas Pynchon - charting the story of two Englishmen traveling to America in the 17th century to plot the state boundary line between Maryland and Pennsylvania - to Jean Vigo's luminous 1934 film, L'Atalante and Marcel Broodthaers' A Voyage on the North Sea (1973).

Nashashibi sees the ship's company as the ultimate closed community. Operating under a strictly adhered to hierarchy headed by the absolute authority of the ship's master, the community's off-shore condition gives it the semblance of a floating independent state. The film is divided into 25 scenes, a prologue and an end, to reflect a piece of unending theatre. A rhythm develops from the intensity and claustrophobia inside the ship, counterbalanced by the empty expanse of the ocean and extreme weather conditions. Three different modes of capturing the ship and its crew can be identified: a close and direct observation of the dynamics of individuals in a confined environment; a rich and dream-like rendering of the light and movement of the voyage; and a heavily characterised framing of the ship as animated machine and protagonist.

Commissioned and produced by Picture This, Bristol and Chisenhale Gallery, London. Thank you to the Master and Crew on the Grimaldi vessel Gran Bretagna.



Year 2007
Duration 31 minutes
Medium Single-channel 16mm film projection
Original format 16mm film
Screening format 16mm film
Aspect ratio 4:3
Audio Yes
Colour / B&W Colour
Screens 1


Commissioned and produced by Picture This, Bristol and Chisenhale Gallery, London. This work was made possible in part by the American Center Foundation and Grimaldi Line. Funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Screening history:

04 September 2009 - 01 February 2010
NUS Museum, Singapore

20 September & 11 October 2009
ICA, London, UK

25 June 2008 - 07 September 2008
Ontario College of Art & Design, Canada

26 August 2007 - 04 November 2007
Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive, USA

15 September - 13 October 2007
Picture This Atelier

13 April - 27 May 2007
Chisenhale Gallery, London, UK

Walker Arts Centre Cinema

Related Items:

Rosalind Nashashibi

Observation of group interaction and social rituals are the starting points for Nashashibi, who primarily uses 16mm film.

Time Unfolding

Time Unfolding - a DVD and online micro-site - is a curated selection of film and video works commissioned and produced by Picture This 2000 - 2007.