I gave up my saturday night to learn how to make this
The Slave Ship (1840), by J.M.W. Turner.
The scene in the painting represents a real incident: when the captain of a slave ship discovered that his insurance only covered slaves lost at sea, and not those dying or ill on board, he ordered all dying and sick slaves to be thrown overboard. Turner’s painting captures the moment where the slaves are beginning to go under.
In this painting, the horizon line, if distinguishable at all, is tilted, curved, and troubled. The observer has lost his stable position. There are no parallels that could converge at a single vanishing point. The sun, which is at the center of the composition, is multiplied in reflections. The observer is upset, displaced, beside himself at the sight of the slaves, who are not only sinking but have also had their bodies reduced to fragments- their limbs devoured by sharks, mere shapes below the water’s surface. At the sight of the effects of colonialism and slavery, linear perspective- the central viewpoint, the position of mastery, control, and subjecthood- is abandoned and start tumbling and tilting, taking with it the idea of space and time as systematic constructions. The idea of calculable and predictable future shows a murderous side though an insurance that prevents economic loss by inspiring cold-blooded murder.
-Hito Steyerl // The Wretched of the Screen