Ellie Ga: Gyres 1-3

Tuesday, March 9 – Thursday, March 25, 2021

Tuesday through Sunday from Noon to 5pm.
Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, South Gallery

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery is currently limited to visits by Wesleyan students, faculty, and staff.

Ellie Ga will discuss her work in a free virtual artist talk on Friday, March 12, 2021 at 12:30pm. Register for Ellie Ga’s talk here.

Ellie Ga's talk and exhibition are the first of the Into the Deluge series of exhibitions and lectures exploring bodies of water as archives of memory, sites of history, and forms of knowledge taking place through Sunday, May 2, 2021.


Ellie Ga, Gyre 1 (Porcelain), 2019 (Still)


Ellie Ga
Gyre 1 (Porcelain), Gyre 2 (Tama), Gyre 3 (Walking), 2019
Single channel video, sound, 39 minutes

In oceanography, gyres (gyros, Greek: a circle, a ring) are a combination of winds and currents that produce orbital patterns in the ocean. Debris is often caught in these gyres, and sometimes this debris is released by the gyre and washes up ashore.

The video installation Gyres by Ellie Ga weaves interconnected narratives focusing on the diverse objects which wash ashore. Gyres is a series of short videos made up of hundreds of transparent photographs filmed on two light tablets, and a voice-over narrative by the artist which moves through a range of experiences, conversations and geographies.

We hear stories about an oceanographer who uses debris from container spills to map the circulation of the Pacific Ocean’s gyre. Similarly, debris from the 2011 tsunami in Japan is used to reconstruct how invasive species have made transoceanic crossings. In Gyres, the viewer encounters stories and objects from forced migrations across the Aegean Sea. We hear about rituals of launching messages in bottles and the offering of metal shoes to appease the Archangel Michael on these same Greek islands. People end up on far-away shores only to be told that they don’t belong. Objects that end up far from their origins are collected by beachcombers and put on display. In Gyres, the narrations are constructed through conversations and chance encounters. One conversation is nested inside another conversation. Locations flow into one another.

Through this new work, Ellie Ga explores how flotsam can speak of what is left behind and what resurfaces time and time again.

Curated by Andrew W. Mellon Postgraduate Research Fellow in Interdisciplinary Arts Practices John Hulsey. This exhibition is co-sponsored by the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life and the Center for the Arts.

Image: Ellie Ga, Gyre 1 (Porcelain), 2019 (Still)