About the Project

In May 2015 I was a participating artist in the Johannesburg Pavilion for the Venice Biennale. During my ten day residency in Venice I made a new work…

In the thirteenth century, the merchant traveller Marco Polo left his home in Venice on a 24 year voyage through Asia, and his account of that journey would come to inform European perspectives on the East for centuries to come. For most white South African children, however – his name is better known from the game played in suburban swimming pools.

In her new video work Marco Polo – shot on Lido beach with professional lifeguard Alberto Alberti – Anthea Moys combines both associations. She is an explorer, who has drifted out to sea. A lifeguard watches over her, responding to her calls of ‘Marco’. The work pushes childhood play into a darker place, and touches on issues of migration – of people scouring the seas for a home. When does a shout of joy or excitement become a cry for help? 

“Dark play subverts order, dissolves frames, breaks its own rules, so that the playing itself is in danger of being destroyed” – Richard Schechner