In the installation The Undesirables (2007), Melanie Jackson revisits the incident of the container ship MSC Napoli, which was stricken off the South English coast in 2007. As containers washed up on Branscombe beach, the media announced that according to maritime legislation their content would become common property. While people rushed to help themselves to items as varied as BMW motorbikes, shampoo bottles and trainers, the authorities and right wing media became increasingly hostile to this scavenging. Made of paper cut outs and dramatised by lights and shadows, The Undesirables recreates the event, evoking the social context in this tale of present-day bounty.
You will find more photographs of these wonderful paper cuts on Melanie Jackson’s Website and a short video with interesting interview pieces on vimeo. Her work The Undesirables was part of the group exhibition Hydrarchy: Power and Resistance at Sea and was also featured in: Melanie Jackson (2010): The Undesirables, Postcolonial Studies, 13(2): 150-153.