(work in progress)
The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are not only among the busiest ports in the world, but they are also the largest port complex in the United States. Each year, they handle over 15 million cargo containers, which translates to over $300 billion worth of goods. The sheer scale of these operations is difficult to comprehend, with towering cranes that can lift and move cargo containers weighing over 100,000 pounds with ease and giant cargo ships the size of multiple football fields. Each day, these colossal ships arrive from all corners of the world, bringing with them an endless stream of commodities. The operations in these ports are simply massive, dwarfing the workers and machinery that move the containers from ship to shore.
The spectacle of these daily operations is both fascinating and concerning. On the one hand, the scale of the commerce, the efficiency and speed with which cargo is moved in and out of these ports, and the technological innovation that enables it are captivating. On the other hand, the environmental and social consequences of the globalized supply chains that these ports support are enormous. They are a testament to an architecture of power that exploits cheap labor forces in distant countries in order to feed affordable goods to one of the world's largest consumer societies.
The video "Intermodal" provides a minimalist portrayal of this critical yet awe-inspiring spectacle. Through its static shots of cargo ships being loaded and unloaded, the video highlights the overwhelming sense of anxiety that these operations can produce, while also inviting viewers to contemplate their complicity in a system that values profit margins, speed and efficiency over people and the planet.