It all begins with the scene of an overloaded boat on the Mediterranean. The passengers stand motionless for the whole of the crossing, the bodies pressed together form a piece of solid cargo, too much movement would capsize the boat. This image stands at the beginning of a Story of the Immobilized: it tells of people turned into cargo on slave ships, of time stilled for the goods on a long journey, of human pupae cryoconserved in nitrogen tanks awaiting their artificial resurrection. And it tells of the absence of the dead amongst the living. There is a lot of talk about the dead today, and even more about dying, but the dead and the ancestors don’t wander about. They need a special milieu to be able to be present absent, as is their way. They find it in the Waiting Room of Lost Steps. The images and stories of the past and the future converge here, the former them (the living) meet the future us (the dead) and other immobilized. The catastrophe has always already happened, now everyone is romping around in the transit space of history. Brisk radio communication is going on here. In the Waiting Room of Lost Steps one can follow the communication on five radio channels in a walk-in and strictly synchronized performative installation.
The various scenes are all simultaneously active: a mechanically animated arena, a garden with water and television sprinkling, a game of tarot with the future of the ocean at stake, the morgue of a TV production, and a historically mission-conscious music channel. Experts from science, art, and economics share their knowledge on logistics, bathymetry, thanatology, corpse acting, or the Black Atlantic at each of these stations. Through headphones the audience can tune into each of the speech acts on five channels.
What if the boat had capsized? Onto what territory do those who drown on the high seas sink? We predict a coming conflict: the contemporary distribution of the ocean floor to the national states by the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, the largest land allocation ever to take place, collides with a different, older sphere of influence. In the ocean depths, the fossil-fuel interests of the national states come up against the legendary territories of the Water Babies, the descendants of black women thrown overboard from slave ships who learnt to breathe underwater.