"Men go to sea, Women don't", 2018

HD Colour Video, Single Channel, Sound, Duration 4:51 min
Original Sound by Holly Moore, edited by Natasha Manners

From Spring Signs, Chill 30%, SÍM Gallery, Reykjavik, Iceland, 2018.


“Men go to sea, Women don’t,” combines the traditions of fishing and knitting while bringing attention to the now forgotten role women historically had on the sea. During the 18th and 19th century many worked as fisherwomen and yet now the very word had to be added to this version of the Microsoft Word dictionary to avoid a threatening red jagged line denouncing its credibility.

In Iceland many women worked alongside fishermen, carrying out the same activities; however,  as the country became more connected to the rest of the world, enforced ideas of the ‘feminine’  woman and female roles were accepted into Icelandic culture and soon women were removed from the sea and its history as they embarked on a life structured around the house.

Presented as a video on an LCD screen alongside three physical woollen fish and a single page of text on trace paper regarding the fisherwomen of Iceland; this work focuses on the traditional process of producing Icelandic dried fish or Harðfiskur.

Systematically following the steps in this method of early food production, the video for the most part uses the context of the modern home and domestic equipment such as a washing machine to wash, salt, dry and soften the fish that are crochet in wool. This follows the transition from women at sea to women at home and contemplates the difference in utensils and methods that occur in the respective places.