Oceans attends to the inextricable human and nonhuman agencies that affect and are affected by the oceans and their running currents within contemporary art and visual culture.
Oceans cover more than 70 percent of the Earth's surface, dividing and connecting humans, who have saltwater in their blood, sweat, and tears. At the same time, oceans represent a powerful nonhuman force, rising, flooding, heating, and raging in unprecedented ways as the climate crisis unfolds. The sea has long enthralled artists, who have envisioned it as a sublime wilderness, a home to countless mythical creatures and bizarre real species, a source of both life and death, and a site of new beginnings and tragic endings, both wondrous and disastrous. From migration to the melting of the polar ice caps, the sea is omnipresent in international news and politics, leaking into popular culture in the wake of the “Blue Planet effect” and proliferating in contemporary art and visual culture. This collection gathers together some of today's most exciting contemporary artists and writers to address the ocean not only as a theme but as a major agent of artistic and curatorial methods.
Artists surveyed includeJohn Akomfrah, Matthew Barney, Shiraz Bayjoo, Betty Beaumont, Guy Ben-Ner, Ashley Bickerton, Heidi Bucher, CAMP, Carolina Caycedo, Monster Chetwynd, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Marcus Coates, Dorothy Cross, Tacita Dean, Mark Dion, Drexciya, Katharina Fritsch, Ellen Gallagher, Cyprien Gaillard, Tue Greenfort, Ayesha Hameed, Susan Hiller, Klara Hobza, Pierre Huyghe, Isuma, Joan Jonas, Chris Jordan, Brian Jungen, Tania Kovats, Lawrence Lek, Sonia Levy, Tau Lewis, Armin Linke, Pam Longobardi, Sean Lynch, Mata Aho Collective, Kaffe Matthews, Ana Mendieta, Kasia Molga, Wangechi Mutu, Mariele Neudecker, George Nuku, Olly and Suzi, the Otolith Group, Jean Painlevé and Geneviève Hamon, Martin Parr, Elizabeth Price, Lisa Reihana, Isabella Rossellini, Zineb Sedira, Allan Sekula, Tejal Shah, Dana Sherwood, Shimabuku, Miriam Simun, Simon Starling, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Paul Thek, Wolfgang Tillmans, Kara Walker, Jessica Warboys, Saskia Olde Wolbers, and Zadie Xa
Writers includeErika Balsom, Karen Barad, Rachel Carson, Mel Y. Chen, T. J. Demos, Ann Elias, Marion Endt-Jones, Léuli Eshrāghi, Kodwo Eshun, Vilém Flusser, Paul Gilroy, Édouard Glissant, Peter Godfrey-Smith, Liliana Gómez, Saidiya Hartman, Epeli Hauʻofa, Stefan Helmreich, Stefanie Hessler, Melody Jue, Koyo Kouoh, Max Liboiron, Lana Lopesi, MAP Office, Chus Martínez, Ngahiraka Mason, Herman Melville, Jules Michelet, Toni Morrison, Astrida Neimanis, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Celeste Olalquiaga, Lucia Pietroiusti, Filipa Ramos, Helen Rozwadowski, Territorial Agency, Zoe Todd, Jules Verne, Jan Verwoert, Christine and Margaret Wertheim, and Kathryn Yusoff