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Sinema Amnesia's Ulysses: A Visual Epic of Ultra-Recent History

Mark Wallinger's "Sinema Amnesia" screens footage of the waters of the Dardanelles straight from the previous day, creating a visual memory loop.

Enter Mark Wallinger’s small theater on the shore of the Dardanelles, and you’ll see a live video feed of the straits outside. Kind of. Actually, the British artist’s installation, titled “Sinema Amnesia,” screens footage of the water from precisely 24 hours earlier: an endless parade of ships and ferries that’s exactly—and not at all—like the one flowing past at that moment. By carving out ultra-recent history (yesterday), the piece seems to point out what’s changed and what hasn’t at the ancient site. And it puts a welcome utilitarian burnish on the myths.

“The constant passage of the cargo ships is part of everyday life there now, but has been so for literally thousands of years,” notes David Codling, arts director for the British Council’s My City program, which commissioned the work. The temporary theater was even built from shipping containers of the same sort that float past. Naturally, Wallinger’s film is called Ulysses.

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