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Design Exchange

• 234 Bay St. P.O. Box 18 | Toronto, ON | M5K 1B2

The Design Exchange occupies the former stock exchange building. The original trading floor is the centrepeice of the facility and has undergone extensive renovations to return the space back to its original 1937 art deco design. This unique facility can accommodate up to 450 people for a sit-down event.
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234 Bay St. P.O. Box 18
Toronto ON M5K 1B2

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Screening of John Akomfrah's Vertigo Sea
Oct 01 to Oct 02
John Akomfrah will be at Design Exchange for a special talk folled by screening of his film, Vertigo Sea.

Vertigo Sea premiered at the 2015 Venice Biennale and was one of the most talked-about works. The immersive three-screen film is a sublime, poetic and haunting meditation on man's relationship with the sea and offers an exploration of its role in the history of slavery, migration and conflict.

Shot on the Isle of Skye, Faroe Islands and Norway, and drawn from the BBC's archive, the film juxtaposes the unparalleled splendor of aquatic nature in its fullest glory with the greed and cruelty of the whaling industry, and shots of African migrants crossing the ocean in a journey fraught with danger in hopes of a better life. The film delivers a timely and potent reminder of the current issues around global migration, the refugee crisis and slavery, alongside ecological concerns.

Prompting a reshuffling of times and places, Vertigo Sea draws upon two remarkable books: Herman Melville's Moby-Dick (1851) and Heathcote Williams's epic poem Whale Nation (1988), charting the history, intelligence and majesty of the largest mammal on earth. Its audiovisual narrative unfolds to reveal a dizzying intersection of history, philosophy and fiction. The piece proposes a cinema of relationality and resists providing a simple message or a moral or partisan interpretation.

As an artist, writer, film director and founding member of the influential Black Audio Film Collective, John Akomfrah's works are characterized by their investigations into memory, post-colonialism and temporality and often explore the experience of the African diaspora in Europe and the U.S. His films and video installations have won several international prizes and have been shown at Cannes, Toronto and Sundance film festivals as well as Documenta 11, Liverpool Biennial, Venice Biennale, Tate Britain and MoMA New York.
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