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Tamara Kametani

MA work

The sea stayed calm for 180 miles

Google Earth is a computer program that renders a simulacrum of the Earth by superimposing images obtained through satellite footage, aerial photographs, and geographic information system. Although the imagery is frequently updated, the program also offers a ‘real-time’ viewing, wherein the sunlight changes across the landscape relative to the current time of day.

The presented footage shows an area of international waters in the Mediterranean Sea between the coast of Libya and the Italian island of Lampedusa– the closest European landmass to North Africa. Despite the apparent ‘authenticity’ of the program to represent the Earth, it fails to map the seas and only charts the landmass. A computer generated animation is inserted in place of all seas and oceans away from shorelines. Here the sea is always calm, waves infinitely moving in a soft breeze, devoid of any landmarks or maritime traffic, a simulacrum based on projection rather than veracity. 

The bench is made of wood retrieved from the boats used by migrants and refugees who crossed the Mediterranean Sea and arrived in Lampedusa. Installed together in one space, the two components demonstrate two very different versions of the sea and question the hierarchies of digital and physical experience while confronting the correlation between spectatorship and participation. By transforming the sea into a serene image, Google Earth does not only aestheticize it, but it in fact, depoliticizes it; in this way, the Mediterranean Sea is just a water mass, not an area with national jurisdiction, and in fact the European border. 

The central Mediterranean route between the coast of Libya and Italy is currently the deadliest route used by migrants and refugees in the world. Already in 2017 over 60,000 people crossed this part of the sea in order to reach Europe and more than 1,700 have died. This number is likely much higher due to the undocumented capsized boats and the unaccounted bodies that wash up on the Libyan coast.



  • MA Degree


    School of Humanities


    MA Contemporary Art Practice, 2017

  • Tamara Kametani’s practice is largely informed by local and global current affairs and spans photography, video, and installation. The underpinning concerns in her work are the issues surrounding power relations, the value of life in its relation to currency and the place of collective and personal memory within history. Tamara is particularly interested in the role technology plays in the construction of historical narratives and the perception of the present. The complex relationship between aesthetics and politics and the role of the public are at the core of the inquiry in her practice. 

  • Degrees

  • BA Photography and Film, Edinburgh Napier University, 2011
  • Exhibitions

  • Odious Smell of Truth, RAGE Collective, Hockney Gallery, London, 2017; Work in Progress Show, Royal College of Art, London, 2017; What Happens to Us, Wimbledon Space, London, 2016; From Tripoli to Lampedusa on July 8 Performance, Kominek Gallery during Les Rencontres d'Arles, Arles, 2016; As Document, Summerhall, Edinburgh, 2016; Work in Progress Show, Royal College of Art, London, 2016; Frames, Glasgow International Art Festival, Glasgow, 2014; Binding Images, M4 Gastatelier, Amsterdam, 2014; In Search of the Crying Lady, Koki Arts, Tokyo, 2013; FOTOGRAFIA 2013, MACRO (Museo d'Arte Contemporanea Roma), Rome, 2013; The Library Project, Photo Book Showcase, Dublin, 2013; Vienna Photo Book Festival, Anzenberger Gallery, Vienna, 2013; Jill Todd Photographic Award, Whitespace Gallery, Edinburgh, 2012