The vessel that became a coffin for hundreds has gone on display at the Venice Biennale. It intends to stir our conscience – but is it a spectacle that exploits disaster?
On the night of 18 April 2015, about 180 kilometres from the Italian island of Lampedusa, a fishing boat capsized with hundreds of migrants on board. Among the waves and beneath the ship’s 23-metre hull, 700 passengers who had dreamed of a better life drowned in the waters of the Mediterranean.
Last week that giant, rusty vessel arrived in Venice on the occasion of the city’s Biennale art festival, where it went on display on Saturday in an installation designed by the artist Christoph Büchel.