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Strophe, A Turning
2017
2 channel video, loop
37 minutes

“Strophe - a turning. The lines of a poem or part of the ode sung by the
Greek chorus while turning.”

Ellie Ga’s Strophe, a Turning (2017) opens with her quoting the Russian poet Osip Mandelstam who compared
launching a message in a bottle to the act of writing a poem to an unknown reader. Taking cues from from both a
bottle at sea and the beachcomber who eventually hap-pens upon it, the artist initially developed the work out of
her interest in how drifting objects have been used to chart sea movement. But her willingness to drift and follow
uncertain turns, carries her unexpectedly to the Greek island of Symi, and then to the shores of its neighbor Lesvos,
during the summer of 2015. Ga is confronted by the mutable context of these islands, and decides to join a team of
volunteers aiding asylum seekers and refugees—a definitive turn-ing point at which she is forced to wrestle not only
with the poetics of accidental drift and the new discoveries it beckons, but with urgent political and humanitarian
realities with which she confronts, processes, and situates within a nuanced and complex history of endurance,
faith, and indeed, chance.

Read a review in the Brooklyn Rail.
Read a review in the November issue of Artforum.



Strophe video stills



Install view, Bureau, New York



Strophe, A Turning (2017). Excerpt, first 5 minutes from Ellie Ga on Vimeo.


Screening History:
MAAT-Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology Lisbon, Portugal, 25 Oct 2020
Cinémathèque Robert-Lynen, Paris (FR), 2018 (presented by Carosposo)
Clandestino Festival, The Museum of World Culture, Gothenburg (SE), 2018
Moderna Museet, Stockholm (SE), 2018