Arnolfini presents Mikhail Karikis’ new film and sound installation SeaWomen, focussing on a vanishing community of elderly female sea workers living on the North Pacific island of Jeju. The work depicts the community of working women called ‘haenyeo’, all now aged between 60 and 90 years old, who dive to great depths with no oxygen supply to catch sea-food, collect seaweed and find pearls. This ancient and exclusively female profession was a dominant economic force on the island, establishing a matriarchal society in an otherwise male-dominated Korean culture, but is now on the verge of disappearance.
The installation creates an audio-visual experience with recordings of the striking sounds of the women’s vocal bursts as they surface from the water, as well as their work-songs and debates about territory, pay and unionisation.
Mikhail Karikis: SeaWomen, 12 January until 20 January, Arnolfini, 16 Narrow Quay, Bristol, BS1 4QA. www.arnolfini.org.uk
Credits: Michael Karikis, SeaWomen, 2012. Courtesy Arnolfini