Liquid Traces. The Left-to-Die Boat Case

Liquid Traces. The Left-to-Die Boat Case
Director: Charles Heller, Lorenzo Pezzani

United Kingdom, 2014, documentary, 17 minutes, english with lithuanian subtitles, N-13

A collaboration between Lorenzo Pezzani and Charles Heller, Liquid Traces.The Left-to-Die Boat Case views one of the most tragic aspects of the contemporary migrant crisis – the conscious inactivity of international organisations and its consequences. The film offers a reconstruction of the events of what is known as the “left-to-die boat” case, in which 72 passengers who left the Libyan coast heading in the direction of the island of Lampedusa on board a small rubber boat were left to drift for 14 days in NATO’s maritime surveillance area, despite several distress signals relaying their location, as well as repeated interactions, including at least one military helicopter visit and an encounter with a military ship. As a result, only 9 people survived. Contrary to the vision of the sea as a non-signifying space in which any event immediately dissolves into moving currents, with Pezzani‘s and Heller‘s investigation demonstrates that traces are indeed left in water, and that by reading them carefully the sea itself can be turned into a witness for interrogation.

About the directors:

Charles Heller is a researcher and filmmaker whose work has a long-standing focus on the politics of migration within and at the borders of Europe. In 2011, he co-founded the Forensic Oceanography research project that critically investigates the lethal effects of the militarized border regime and the politics of migration in the Mediterranean Sea. Heller’s recent works include Liquid Traces. The Left-to-Die Boat Case and the Death by Rescue (2016) report and video. Heller is a research fellow on the Forensic Architecture project of the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Lorenzo Pezzani convenes the MA stream in Forensic Architecture at the University of Goldsmiths in London. An architect and a PhD graduate from Goldsmiths, his work deals with the spatial politics and visual cultures of migration, with a particular focus on the geography and history of the ocean. Since 2011, he has been working on Forensic Oceanography, a collaborative project that critically investigates the militarized border regime in the Mediterranean Sea.

Section: Ocean for Earthly Survival

Screenplay: Lorenzo Pezzani, Charles Heller