Jointly developed by M HKA and the KU Leuven, this long-term, interdisciplinary research project focuses on a specific, yet complex body of work; multifaceted and variably installable, unfinished and open-ended: Ship of Fools / The Dockers' Museum (2010-2013) by artist and theorist Allan Sekula (1951-2013). Informed by the research of the team members, the project continues to evolve in a succession of research outputs, such as this digital platform.


(c)Image: Katie Shapiro
Hiroshige Ukiyo-e Print (The Dockers' Museum, object nr. 77)
Print , 20.1 x 26.67 cm
woodblock color print on paper

This print depicts traveling figures that cross the river Oi. Because there is no bridge, the people are wading through the shallow water. Some go on foot, others are carried by porters or transported in a kago, a sedan that was used by the non-samurai class. Still others are traveling horseback.

From a bird’s-eye view, we see about a hundred figures that are on the banks of the river or already in the water. They have a lot of boxes and baskets with them. While some relax, others let their horses drink or they move further west. This could represent a daimyō (a Japanese warlord from the samurai class) and his supporters. 

– Stéphanie Van den Eynde

Translation by Steven Tallon

Hiroshige Ukiyo-e Print [title given by Allan Sekula], woodblock color print on paper, unknown date [nineteenth century], 20.1 x 30.5 cm. Purchased by Allan Sekula through eBay on 12 July 2010.