Yoshinari Nishiki – Single Container Transport (2018)

The Grey Space invited Yoshinari Nishiki (aka Inari Wishiki) for a residency in the framework of his project Single Container Transport. His work explores the entanglement of economics and ecology.

Single Container Transport is a future logistics concept by Nishiki that dissects a highly representative underlying infrastructure of modern civilization, container shipping, which effectively moves 90% of all the manufactured goods across the globe. Single Container Transport is the idea of moving standard shipping containers one by one, instead of up to 20.000 TEU (20ft containers) per vessel. The autonomous deep-sea vessels Nishiki envisions are independent of traditional fuels by only harnessing the wind and ocean currents, utilizing accurate geolocation technology and cheap sensors. 

The concept raises questions on the future of shipping, autonomous vessels, sustainability, but as well as economic supply and demand models, having the potential to drastically alter the cultural landscapes shaped by the curent system of container shipping.

Following a method of operatic prototyping, Nishiki conceived several performative acts which contribute to the larger project. During the working period at The Grey Space he realised the act Overture: Carring Power.


The Grey Space and Nishiki collaborated with TodaysArt to organize a panel discussion. We invited professor Lóránt Tavasszy, who explores the mode of storage in relation to the physical distances from the living environment. PhD researcher Ali Haseltalab, who develops prototypes of an autonomous inland waterways vessel that carries one container Delfia 1 from TU Delft. Borre Rosema, coordinator of the Central Innovation District The Hague, also joined the panel discussion. The event was moderated by Inte Gloerich (Institute of Network Cultures, University of Amsterdam).

Den Haag, 20 september 2018. Deliveroo brengt aardappels naar Grey Space in the Middle. Onderdeel van TodaysArt om aandacht te vestigen op kleinschalig transport zijn de toekomst Foto Martijn Beekman / gemeente Den Haag

The second public event was an artistic intervention in public space during TodaysArt Festival, in which Nishiki hired 14 Deliveroo riders to move 350kg of potatoes by bicycle from point A to point B and to bring them together into a symbolic ‘mountain’ of potatoes. The distribution and assembly process was accompanied by a sound piece by music composer Kepla. The performance investigated whether new logistic services such as Deliveroo can possibly also be used for the zero-emission transportation of goods. Although their services are now deeply embedded in our culture, still nobody has approached them as a serious logistical system.


Single Container Transport is a project by Yoshinari Nishiki. Partners are The Grey Space in the Middle and Delft University of Technology (TU Delft). Teh project was supported by Deliveroo, Central Innovation District, TodaysArt, Border Sessions. The working period was made possible by the Creative Industries Fund NL and Central Innovation District The Hague.

Photo’s by Martijn Beekman.