HONG KONG– An artist who spent weeks stranded on a giant container ship in the Pacific Ocean has finally made it to dry land.
British filmmaker Rebecca Moss, whose bizarre predicament was caused by the bankruptcy of the ship’s operator, stepped off the Hanjin Geneva in Tokyo on Saturday.
It wasn’t her intended destination. But after more than two weeks of uncertainty over the ship’s fate, she embraced it.
“On dry land!” she tweeted.
“Rebecca is well and extremely excited” to spend time with curators and other artists in Tokyo, said Kimberly Phillips, the director of the Vancouver gallery that organized Moss’ residency aboard the Hanjin Geneva.
Moss was originally meant to spend 23 days on the cargo ship, gathering artistic inspiration as it traveled from Vancouver to Shanghai. But about a week into the journey, Hanjin Shipping filed for bankruptcy protection, leaving hundreds of people stranded aboard scores of vessels worldwide.
Hanjin ships were turned away from ports over fears they wouldn’t be able to pay for things like docking and fuel. The company has also been scrambling to stop creditors from having its vessels seized.
Some people have called the stranded vessels “ghost ships.”
For Moss — – whose films feature absurd scenes like a person dressed as a frog bouncing on a pogo stick in a puddle — finding herself trapped in this strange maritime limbo was frustrating but also an artistic opportunity.
“It actually underscores perfectly the aims of the residency in the first place,” Phillips, the gallery director, told CNNMoney last week. “A consideration of time and duration, unpinned from the cadence of everyday life, as well as an attempt to make visible a global system of seaborne freight that most of us remain blissfully unaware of.”
Moss’ time on the ship ended up lasting 25 days rather than 23. And she’s traveling by air rather than sea from Tokyo to London, where she’s due to start the final year of a postgraduate degree in fine art.
But around the world, dozens of other Hanjin ships and the people they’re carrying remain stranded at sea.