The title draws on a passage from the Jewish Rosh Hashana service that deals with the fate of the coming year: “Who shall live, and who shall die; who in his time, and who before his time. Who by water, and who by fire...” The title references that which has been pre-ordained – a future history that will in time unfold before us.
“Who By Water” draws on archival footage in which ship passengers are depicted staring wordlessly into the camera’s lens, through a veil of deteriorating emulsion. We examine these anonymous faces: rich, poor, young, old, celebrated or incidental. All of their numbers have by now been called. And in staring back at them, we contemplate our own fate.