ships in the night is an allegorical consideration of how bodies and objects are increasingly choreographed and stymied within our crumbling colonial world order. New sculptural works by American artist Latham Zearfoss formally and conceptually align through the reverent use of low-grade packing material – brown paper, cardboard and tape. Resembling an abandoned logistics company, ships in the night is comprised of several strategic aesthetic interventions that create dynamic formations of suspicious packages that may elicit joy, skepticism, desire, wonder, fear and panic. ships in the night poetically interrogates the valorisation of a global ‘free market,’ in contrast to the violent, jingoistic fervor that has gripped so many nations. Put more plainly, decreased regulation (increased flow of goods) synchronises with decreased value for human life (increased militarisation of borders). All the while, cornerstones of liberal humanism like class mobility and governmental transparency and a shared belief in fundamental human rights get carried away by the changing tides, passing into shadow as though they were mere ‘ships in the night’.
ships in the night
Latham Zearfoss lives and works in Chicago, and holds a MFA from the University of Illinois. They are a multi-disciplinary artist whose practice forms around time-based projects. They work largely in video and sound, object installations and also produce music and publications.
Zearfoss has participated in numerous group exhibitions in the USA and held a number of solo exhibitions in the USA, including YesX1000 (2015) in Chicago, and Bruising Darkness (2014) in Baltimore. In 2017 their exhibition Intents and Purposes at the Andrew Rafacz Gallery in Chicago included a number of different works in a variety of media. Concerned with inherited queer histories and the everyday realities of social and political life on the margins, Zearfoss’s intersectional practice focuses on formative experiences of “selfhood and otherness”.