In Marcel Odenbach’s film Foundering and you can’t swim (Im Schiffbruch nicht schwimmen können, 2011) three Africans are sitting in the Louvre Museum in Paris and contemplate one of the museum’s most renowned paintings: The Raft of the Medusa by Théodore Géricault. The painting portrays one of these moments when humankind is thrown back to its pure, brutal and merciless will to survive: 15 of 174 remaining survivors of the noble French marine and colonial power, crazed, parched and starved 13 days adrift on a raft. They only survived by slaughtering mutineers, eating their dead companions and killing the weakest – and they moved forward.
Marcel Odenbach (b. 1953 in Cologne, Germany) lives in Berlin and Cape Coast, Ghana and works in Berlin and Cologne.