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Institute of Contemporary Art Miami



Fall Semester 2021: Oceanic Archives

Oct 12 – Nov 17, 2021
The Sea is History
Where are your monuments, your battles, martyrs?
Where is your tribal memory? Sirs,
in that grey vault. The sea. The sea
has locked them up. The sea is History.
“The Sea is History” by Derek Walcott

Beginning with Derek Walcott’s meditation that the sea is history, the Art + Research Center’s upcoming semester will center around the theme of “Oceanic Archives.” Taking a transnational approach informed by histories of enslavement and colonial violence as well as the ongoing migrant crisis, we will consider the sea’s formal qualities for relating to untold and often irretrievable stories of the past. In approaching the sea’s abyssal and uncertain temporal quality, we will draw our attention to the poetic, sensory, and historical possibilities that emerge from a seascape epistemology.

Lines of inquiry might include: How does the sea carry the past in materiality and through memory? What are the connections between the sea and the unconscious? How do land-based notions of the law transform at sea? How does life at the maritime boundary (or port-city) including language and ethnic identities (créolite, local dialects, and other forms of oral communication, etc) disrupt the recorded archive? What lines of relation are opened through the sea? What horizons of possibility (mythic, political, emancipatory) does the sea-space produce?

Ludovic Nkoth, It Is Raining Hope, 2020. Acrylic on Belgian linen. Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami. Museum Purchase with funds provided by Andre Sakhai.