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Ryan Poinasamy is an MA student at WiSER and the Department of African Literature. He completed a BA in English at the University of Mauritius, his research project was titled '"=": Recognising LGBTQ+ Faces within the Mauritian Nation State through Queer Utopianism on Grindr' . His interests include popular culture, gender and sexuality studies, as well as global human rights issues. 

Collecting rainwater, connecting to the sea, the sea as a god, those who have died at seas are gods, the sea as connecting, praying for rain, ancestors at sea because no bodies. Connections to the drowned slave thought of the Caribbean; also to Drexciya.

Anguezomo Mba Bikoro: The film and performance are a poetical gesture in re-thinking the premises of memory and colonial debris for which Halfmoon camp in Wünsdorf was a significant part of German colonial history. In the film footage, the two artists are to be seen in Wünsdorf, on the location of the former "HalfMoon" camp and its neighbour lake, a colonial camp where Arabic, Indian and African POWs from British and French colonial troops largely from Muslim backgrounds were retained together from 1914 until 1919.

Poem by Koleka Putuma

South African History Online: Antipolis to Trojan.  

According to afrofuturist legend, Drexciya is a sunken land inhabited by the children of African women drowned during the Middle Passage. Since they were never born, these children continued to breathe underwater: first through amniotic fluid, then through lungs better suited to their aquatic world.

British scientists have found a remarkable array of creatures, some of them new to science, in one of the most inhospitable regions of the deep sea. In the first ever expedition to explore and take samples from the "Dragon Vent" in the south-west Indian Ocean, remotely operated submarines spotted yeti crabs, sea cucumbers and snails living around the boiling column of mineral-rich water that spews out of the seafloor.

On Campbell Island in the Southern Ocean, some 400 miles south of New Zealand, is a single Sitka spruce. More than 170 miles from any other tree, it is often credited as the “world’s loneliest tree”. Planted in the early 20th century by Lord Ranfurly, governor of New Zealand, the tree’s wood has recorded the radiocarbon produced by above ground atomic bomb tests – and its annual layers show a peak in 1965, just after the tests were banned. The tree therefore gives us a potential marker for the start of the Anthropocene.

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Mbwana and his best friend Juma are two young men with big dreams. These dreams become reality when they photograph a gigantic fish leaping out of the sea and their small town blossoms into a tourist hot-spot as a result. But for Mbwana, the reality isn't what he dreamed – and when he meets the fish again, both of them forgotten, ruined and old, he decides only one of them can survive. Jonah is a big fish story about the old and the new, and the links and the distances between them. A visual feast, shot though with humour and warmth, it tells an old story in a completely new way.

Meghan Judge's site-specific projected animation for the Porwli festival in Port Louis, Mauritius. It was video mapped onto the old Military Hospital in the city so as to highlight heritage architectural spaces that are largely neglected. The festival aimed to breath new life into the site with the theme 'nature' and within the site the Electrocaine collective also installed two projects (left door/right door on the lower floor).

Reflective short film about heritage and preservation of indigenous life in South Africa. Dumama, Qhawekazi and Shakeel share a snippet of their story.

Like most middle-class touristic people who visit Cape Town, I guess, I have now and then dunked my semi-naked body in one or another of the surrounding seas. Always there is someone in the water off Fish Hoek or Muizenberg, Kommetjie or Clifton Beach. What does it all mean? Why do some perform this strange ritual, while others are terrified? What is the social meaning of this liquid sensuality? How has the sheer geography of this ocean-girt city inflected the behaviour of its inhabitants? Can the disparate motivations of all those individuals add up to a pattern, an identifiable ripple in the fabric of our society?

Lava-covered piece of continent is an ancient remnant, left over from the break-up of the supercontinent, Gondwana, which started about 200 million years ago.

Ellen Gallagher brings together imagery from myth, nature, art and social history to create complex works in a wide variety of media including painting, drawing, relief, collage, print, sculpture, film and animation. The exhibition explores the themes which have emerged and recurred in her practice, from her seminal early canvases through to recent film installations and new bodies of work.

The Forensic Oceanography project was launched in summer 2011 to support a coalition of NGOs demanding accountability for the deaths of migrants in the central Mediterranean Sea while that region was being tightly monitored by the NATO-led coalition intervening in Libya. The efforts were focused on what is now known as the “left-to-die boat” case, in which sixty-three migrants lost their lives while drifting for fourteen days within the NATO maritime surveillance area.

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Bill Viola, Venice Biennale (2007)

March 1943. The chaos of World War II is in its fourth year even as a Goan summer gets underway. A group of British war veterans embark on what appears to be their last shot at adventure. They trade in their business suits, take leave from their businesses, and hatch up a devious plan. The objective -- to destroy four Axis ships anchored at Goa's Mormugao harbour. 

Our task as creatives is to choose imagination over fear, and to dive deep. The video addresses an important issue, the devastating pollution that harms and kills sea life. We need to be responsible, and held accountable for all the damage we cause as human beings.

South African choreographer and dancer Oupa Sibeko. Filmed at Muizenberg Beach, June 2015.

Each year, more than 11 billion tons of stuff gets carried around the world by large ships. Clothes, flat-screen TVs, grain, cars, oil — transporting these goods from port to port is what makes the global economy go 'round. Now there's a great way to visualize this entire process, through this stunning interactive map from the UCL Energy Institute.

A steady increase in ocean temperatures — nearly 3 degrees Fahrenheit in recent decades — was all it took to doom the once-luxuriant giant kelp forests of eastern Australia and Tasmania: Thick canopies that once covered much of the region’s coastal sea surface have wilted in intolerably warm and nutrient-poor water. Then, a warm-water sea urchin species moved in. Voracious grazers, the invaders have mowed down much of the remaining vegetation and, over vast areas, have formed what scientists call urchin barrens, bleak marine environments largely devoid of life.

The ocean remains a glaring blind spot in the Western imagination. Catastrophic events remind us of its influence—a lost airplane, a shark attack, an oil spill, an underwater earthquake—but we tend to marginalize or misunderstand the scales of the oceanic. It represents the “other 71 percent” of our planet. Meanwhile, like land, its surface and space continue to be radically instrumentalized: offshore zones territorialized by nation-states, high seas crisscrossed by shipping routes, estuaries metabolized by effluents, sea levels sensed by satellites, seabeds lined with submarines and plumbed for resources. As sewer, conveyor, battlefield, or mine, the ocean is a vast logistical landscape. Whether we speak of fishing zones or fish migration, coastal resilience or tropical storms, the ocean is both a frame for regulatory controls and a field of uncontrollable, indivisible processes. To characterize the ocean as catastrophic—imperiled environment, coastal risk, or contested territory—is to overlook its potential power.

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DIGITAL 

HUMANITIES

This is an experiment in archive creation, where we sample the range of creative and critical work on this subject, that we hope will provide materials to prompt further questions. Like a cabinet of curiosities, we aim to feature interesting samples; like an aquarium, however, we embrace a more random and fluid approach than the colonial categories of the cabinet. Think of it as flotsam and jetsam of cultural production on the oceans from the relatively underrepresented parts of the world.

 

The process of curation, or sampling, is relatively free form. The only criteria are that it be related to the ocean (coastlines, submarine worlds, ports, maritime networks, ships, fish, bathymetry and so on); to the global south (the poorer parts of the world, the third world, the developing world, but also the southern hemisphere more loosely defined); and ideally also to the arts and humanities (literature, art, history, theatre, film, design, stories or science that engages the imagination in some way). 

 

Browse the curiosities as they swim, drift, float and flow past. And also send us your contributions! All we need is a link/image/text, and a single line or quote which indicates why this sparked your interest.