Flickering Shores, Sea Imaginaries, this year’s edition of the Sea Art Festival, is inviting us to rethink our relationship with the sea, referring to the beauty but at the same time, the fragility of our shores, and exploring alternative frameworks and visions for engaging with the ocean and marine environments.
The sea is deeply embedded in our lives and capitalist society, a vital source for our survival, but also a vast industry we exploit for food, medicines, energy, minerals, trading, travel and so on. But increased human activity, from extensive cruise tourism, shipping and overfishing to nuclear testing, pollution and deep-sea mining have been plaguing the sea, having a huge impact on marine ecosystems and habitats.
Instead of viewing the sea from the coast as a divided and abstract surface for moving around commodities, Flickering Shores, Sea Imaginaries reminds us that we are part of this body of water. This year's Sea Art Festival aims to explore new relationships with the sea and its ecologies, enabling spaces for cooperation, collective visions and synergies as a call to resistance and restoration.
Liquid Time (Jacob Bolton & Miriam Matthiessen), a research duo working around shipping, finance, and the temporalities of maritime worlds, was established in 2023. Jacob Bolton is an architectural researcher interested in supply chain violence and resource struggle. Miriam Matthiessen is a researcher interested in critical logistics and urban political ecology. Together with Eliza Ader, they also run the Abandoned Seafarer Map, an online (counter)-mapping project tracking the systemic abandonment of seafarers by ship owners and the shipping industry at large.VIEW MORE
Renata Padovan creates poetic channels of communication, spotlighting issues related to land occupation and their ecological, political, social, and cultural consequences. Recently, the majority of her work has been based on research pertaining to the devastation of ecosystems. Since 2012, she has developed several projects in the Amazon, with a focus on deforestation, river pollution, and the destructive effects of hydroelectric power plants. Padovan has participated in several AIR programs and since 2023 she has taken part in the Tara Ocean Europe expedition together with scientists, exploring and analyzing the surface of the ocean. Her work has been exhibited in galleries, institutions, and museums in Brazil and other countries around the world.VIEW MORE
Mongjoo Son creates her Swing Pavilion series with broken pieces, fishing nets, and fishing gear floating on the sea. She shows viewers high, wide-ranging installations on an extraordinary scale with a dramatic sense of space. Her work presents a place for rest and play, where people can fully enjoy it through activities.VIEW MORE
Hypercomf is a multidisciplinary, speculative design artist identity that was first established in Athens in 2017 as a fictitious company profile, but is actually based on the island of Tinos, Greece. Hypercomf’s research subjects often focus on the relationships between nature and culture, domestication and ecosystemic networks, tradition, and technology, as well as challenges faced by small island communities. Their practice fosters interdisciplinary collaborations and community engagement methods of production which often include a range of biodiverse participants. These processes are manifested as space activations, multimedia artworks, and sustainable design prototypes and objects, and are structured around dynamic narratives that feature both organic and inorganic protagonists.VIEW MORE
Based in Busan, Yun Pil Nam has participated in eight solo exhibitions and more than 50 group exhibitions at leading art institutions in Korea. By moving from the flat surface to three dimensions, Yun strives to express a world of art that goes beyond the superficial boundaries of painting, which can bind the past, present, and future together. Since 2016, she has been particularly interested in installation art and has also participated in creating theater costumes and public art projects.VIEW MORE
There are no boundaries in the sea or land. Fences are human-made structures and boundaries are drawn and constructed by humans. A space surrounded by a fence gives a clear sign to people that it can not be entered, however one’s sight can penetrate a space enclosed with a fence or border. Boundaries can be penetrated from the outside. In Yasuaki Onishi’s installation, the fence that separates this side from the opposite one marks that boundary. Works with fences of different types and sizes create permeable volumes by layering boundaries. Yasuaki uses a ready-made and mundane object such as a fence, sculpting an empty space and allowing it to be filled with our imagination. The space between ourselves and the sea or nature may be thought of as a separation or a border, but here this hollow space is materialized with a structure of vertical and horizontal lines, volumes and voids, allowing us to fill in these forms and create different interpretations or visualize new landscapes. Layer of Boundary explores ideas of emptiness and fullness, absence and presence. Through this installation Yasuaki also explores relationships - and borders - between human and nature. The familiar fence object is reversed; the artist manipulates it so it’s not a fixed structure anymore, but one that can be penetrated and one that can offer different points of view. In a way, what is thought of as a boundary between ourselves and the sea, we are invited to erase with our imagination. Yasuaki invites us to rethink the division between human and sea, human and nature, but also the separation between human activity at land and sea. He reminds us of the need to look at sea, land and humans together and as connected entities in order to be able to address the urgent transformation the sea is undergoing.VIEW MORE
While our oceans already face a huge amount of stress from climate change, plastic pollution, oil spills and over fishing, how can proposals for sea floating dwellings be sustainable or non-threatening to marine ecosystems? Seasteading, the concept of creating dwellings floating at sea, colonizing oceans and bypassing territories controlled by governments, has been around for a long time. Floating structures anchored in international waters, beyond the "territorial sea" of any country, have included refitted oil platforms, modified cruise ships, or custom-built floating islands and structures to name a few. Jacob Hurwitz-Goodman and Daniel Keller’s film The Seasteaders documents the first Seasteading conference in Tahiti, talking with Seasteading evangelists like controversial author Joe Quirk and Seasteading Institute executive director Randolph Hencken to get firsthand accounts of the Seasteader’s beliefs and visions for an aquatic future. While much remains to be worked out, not least of all the fundamental problem of the place of “shesteaders,” the Seasteaders hope they can float on changing tides as they colonize the world’s waters. Founded in 2008 by former Google software engineer Patri Friedman with financial backing by PayPal founder Peter Thiel, the Seasteading Institute envisions a fluid world, where governments are selected in an open market and climate change can be “hacked.” Seeing rule by the majority as ineffective and oppressive, the Seasteaders propose a libertarian future of floating micro-governments, where user-citizens can detach and rejoin at will and law looks less like constitutions and more like software. To implement their plan for a nautical future, the Seasteaders have begun working with the government of French Polynesia to build the first floating islands in a special economic zone off the coast of Tahiti, after facing large-scale public opposition in Honduras. Seasteading evangelists, in a similar way to Silicon Valley techno solutionists, are presenting the society as a system that can be modified, managed or controlled. A group of entrepreneurs proposes to create new markets and worlds that fit their needs for a rules-free society. But while these initiatives present floating societies as solutions to housing needs, environmental challenges or a way to escape badly governed nations, how can we know for sure that these sea structures are more than tax avoidance bubbles or extravagant retreats for the rich?VIEW MORE
Echo, Filled in the Sea is an installation in the shape of a net that spans 8 meters in width and 4 meters height. The net is created based on stories of local residents. It is intricately woven with pearls and beads. The round and luminous pearls symbolize precious moments, emotions, and memories. Additionally, the arrangement of pearls, along with elongated beads, form Morse code messages, encoded text characters in sequences of signal durations. Each pulse of the Morse code represents a message written for someone close, who can no longer be here — a message for someone from the past and long gone. The net is suspended above the beach, swaying freely at the boundary between the sea and the sky. It reaches out toward the distant sea, a symbol of longing, as delicate strands of the net are intertwined like outstretched hands. The hidden voices within the encrypted messages in the delicate threads of the net yearn to reach the souls of those who are no longer by our side, while reminding us that the sea is a place of hardship and precariousness for many people. As we gaze upon the transparent glow of pearls and beads, we offer a prayer that they might echo back to us.VIEW MORE
Jane Jin Kaisen, Of The Sea, 2013, Single channel video, color, sound, 2min. 15sec. In Of the Sea, the artist is seen walking along the black lava rock shore of Jeju Island where her mother and grandmother used to earn a living as haenyeo, women sea diver. She is carrying discarded items used for diving as well as the book Annals of the Jeju Haenyeo’s Anti-Japanese Resistance written by her grandfather while he served as Head of the Commemoration Committee for the Jeju Haenyeo’s Anti-Colonial Resistance Movement. The book was published in 1995 on occasion of the First Memorial Ceremony for the Jeju Haenyeo Anti-colonial Resistance, a movement that erupted in 1931-1932 when the haenyeo started marching in protest against the Japanese colonial forces along the same coast where the artist is seen walking almost eight decades later. The video is juxtaposed with the song Song of the Haenyeo, the notes of which are printed on the first pages of the artist’s grandfather’s book. The song is composed around a Japanese melody, but the lyrics are altered and are written by Gwan-soon Gang, a social activist and leader of the resistance movement, while he was imprisoned. The song, although it was banned, was sung by haenyeo and attests to the gendered dimensions of Jeju haenyeo culture, the harsh and dangerous vocation of diving, and their reliance on the sea for survival. While the careful treatment of the book and the diving tools allude to an attempt at preserving history and bridging the gaps in time and the transmission of intergenerational knowledge, the video ends before the artist reaches the sea. Walking with unsteady awkward movements and dressed in clothing and boots unfit for the environment, there is a sense of discontinuity and rupture, which stands in contrast to the lyrics of the song. In recent decades, haenyeo diving culture has drastically diminished due to modernization, societal changes, industrial farming and destruction of the oceanic environment. With it, the knowledge of the sea and diving, along with the matriarchal cosmology of Jeju and shamanic spiritual culture connected to the sea, is no longer being seamlessly passed on from mother to daughter. Gilles Aubry, Atlantic Ragagar, 2022, Single channel video, color, sound, 31min. 43sec. Shot in collaboration with biologist Younes Boundir, Atlantic Ragagar is an experimental film on seaweed and pollution on the Moroccan Atlantic coast. With its clear water, the Sidi Bouzid beach hosts dozens of seaweed species. Further south in Safi, marine biodiversity suffers from pollution caused by industrial phosphate plants. The film is an attempt to listen to coastal life, inviting the spectator into a process of ecological transformation. If pollution often remains hidden in the landscape, the effects of toxicity are rendered through the voice and bodily presence of the main character performed by Imane Zoubai. As she hums, sings, breathes, and silently interacts with algae, a new figure progressively emerges, “maouj”, an aquatic body open to transcorporeal and interspecies speculations. Calypso36°21 & Derya Akkaynak, Untitled, 2021, Single channel video, text, sound, 9min. 4sec. Supported by Sea Art Festival 2023. The sound piece Untitled (titled by Calypso36°21) was created by oceanographer Derya Akkaynak to explain to a large audience her discovery ‘Sea-Thru’. She records herself on her phone. Instead of narrating and explaining Sea-Thru in a scientific way, ‘objective’ and cold, Derya talks about the loss of her mother, her relationship to the sea and how those elements helped her make a huge breakthrough for the ocean. Derya gifted this piece to Justine Daquin in 2021 after a discussion they had together that was part of a larger project of interviews with female ocean scientists. They all approach their discipline with intuition and emotion and thanks to this way of practicing science, made major discoveries and helped heal and care for the ocean. Jane Jin Kaisen(born 1980 in Jeju Island, lives in Copenhagen) is a visual artist, filmmaker, and Professor of the School of Media Arts, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. Spanning the mediums of video installation, narrative experimental film, photographic installation, performance, and text, Kaisen’s artistic practice is informed by extensive interdisciplinary research and engagement with diverse communities. Through multi-year projects and collaborations, she has engaged topics such as transnational adoption, the Korean War and division, the Jeju April Third Massacre, and Cold War legacies. Another recurring focus revolves around nature and island spaces, cosmologies, feminist re-framings of myths, and engagement with ritual and spiritual practices. Her works negotiate and mediate the means of representation, resistance, and recognition, thus contouring alternative genealogies and sites of collective emergence. Kaisen is a recipient of the New Carlsberg Foundation Artist Grant (2023) and a 3-year work grant from the Danish Arts Foundation (2022). She represented Korea at the 58th Venice Biennale with the film installation Community of Parting (2019) alongside artists Hwayeon Nam and siren eun young jeong in the exhibition History Has Failed Us, but No Matter curated by Hyunjin Kim. She was awarded “Exhibition of the Year 2020” by AICA - International Association of Art Critics, Denmark for the exhibition Community of Parting at Kunsthal Charlottenborg. Kaisen has participated in the biennials of Liverpool, Gwangju, Anren, Jeju, among others, and she had numerous solo exhibitions including recently Jane Jin Kaisen: Braiding and Mending at The Image Centre (2023), Of Specters or Returns at Le Bicolore (2023), Currents at Fotografisk Center (2023), Parallax Conjunctures at Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (2021), and screenings Dislocation Blues: Jane Jin Kaisen, Tate Modern (2023), Ceremony (Burial of an Undead World), Haus der Kulturen der Welt (2022) to name a few. She holds a PhD in artistic research from the University of Copenhagen, Department of Art and Cultural Studies, an MFA in Interdisciplinary Studio Art from the University of California Los Angeles, an MA in Art Theory and Media Art from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, and she participated in the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program. Gilles Aubry is a Swiss artist, musician and researcher based in Berlin. His work explores sound and listening as embodied, technological, and ecological practice. His installations, films, performances and radio plays are presented internationally in art institutions, film festivals and music venues. Recent projects include The Gramophone Effect, a sound piece with Robert Millis and the Indian collective Traveling Archive, commissioned by Documenta14 (2017, Kassel and Athens); Black Anthenna, a performance with Nathalie Mba Bikoro for the Tuned Cities Festival (2018, Ancient Messene); Salam Godzilla, a film essay shot in Agadir on the 1960 earthquake (2019, FID Marseille), and The Whistle, a sound installation by the VACUT Group (Voices Against Corruption and Ugly Trading), commissioned by OTO Sound Museum in Zurich (2022). Derya Akkaynak is a Turkish engineer and oceanographer whose research focuses on imaging and vision underwater. She has professional, technical, and scientific diving certifications and conducted fieldwork from the Bering Sea to Antarctica. Akkaynak was a finalist for the 2019 Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists for resolving a fundamental problem in underwater computer vision—the reconstruction of lost colors and contrast which led to the development of the Sea-thru algorithm.VIEW MORE
How can we enable better public engagement and open, transparent debate about nuclear power and whether it is worth the risk? Radioactive pigeons, two pairs of twins and a massacre bring chaos to a sleepy seaside village. In this environment everything is entangled —including birds, humans and plutonium — and nothing is spared. With an aesthetic approach that emphasizes the act of creation and construction over a passive recording and reconstruction of the world, Birds humanizes the connections between the nuclear and the everyday at a time of great environmental threat and nuclear uncertainty, reminding us that we live in thepost-Cold War nuclear age. Today’s world is marked by increasing anxieties around nuclear energy and risks, ongoing war, extractivism and violence. And after the Fukushima disaster, the war in Ukraine and political tensions and conflicts, we know that not only is the nuclear age still here, but unless we take action, the risk of a nuclear holocaust might be even greater. Birds is inspired by real events that took place between 1998-2010 in the area around Sellafield, the large nuclear reprocessing site in Cumbria, UK. Actors present different accounts as they were recorded in the media at the time. The imagery builds around the seaside and nuclear plant and accumulates and dissipates in a volatile environment where all forms of life are entangled. The overarching motif is the environment that the nuclear plant seeps into — land, sea and air — metamorphosing and mutating because of human actions and now, beyond human control. The birds are the constant presence, and unstoppable. The actors’ voices are woven through a soundscape that gives a voice to the birds and to the environment. The soundscape was created by Meg Travers on a unique instrument she built, a 21st century version of the Trautonium. The original Trautonium, a 1920s German synthesizer, was used to create the non-musical soundtrack for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 film The Birds. Meg Travers is one of only two people in the world who compose for and play the Trautonium. How can we enable better public engagement and open, transparent debate about nuclear power and whether it is worth the risk? Radioactive pigeons, two pairs of twins and a massacre bring chaos to a sleepy seaside village. In this environment everything is entangled —including birds, humans and plutonium — and nothing is spared. With an aesthetic approach that emphasises the act of creation and construction over a passive recording and reconstruction of the world, BIRDS humanises the connections between the nuclear and the everyday at a time of great environmental threat and nuclear uncertainty, reminding us that we live in the post-Cold War nuclear age. Today’s world is marked by increasing anxieties around nuclear energy and risks, ongoing war, extractivism and violence. And after the Fukushima disaster, the war in Ukraine and political tensions and conflicts, we know that not only is the nuclear age still here, but unless we take action, the risk of a nuclear holocaust might be even greater. Birds is inspired by real events that took place between 1998-2010 in the area around Sellafield, the large nuclear reprocessing site in Cumbria, UK. Actors present different accounts as they were recorded in the media at the time. The imagery builds around the seaside and nuclear plant and accumulates and dissipates in a volatile environment where all forms of life are entangled. The over-arching motif is the environment that the nuclear plant seeps into — land, sea and air — metamorphosing and mutating because of human actions and now, beyond human control. The birds are the constant presence, and unstoppable. The actors’ voices are woven through a soundscape that gives a voice to the birds and to the environment. The soundscape was created by Meg Travers on a unique instrument she built, a 21st century version of the Trautonium. The original Trautonium, a 1920s German synthesizer, was used to create the non-musical soundtrack for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 film The Birds. Meg Travers is one of only two people in the world who compose for and play the Trautonium.VIEW MORE
포레스트 커리큘럼은 남아시아와 동남아시아를 잇는 삼림지대 조미아의 자연문화를 통한 인류세 비평을 주로 연구합니다. 작품 유랑하는 베스티아리는 이 연구의 일환으로, 비인간적 존재들이 근대 국민국가에 내재된 계급적이고 세습적인 폭력과 그에 따른 잔재들에 어떻게 대항해왔는지를 보여주는 작품입니다. 좌중을 압도하는 듯한 거대한 깃발들은 위태롭고도 불안하게 스스로를 지탱하고 있는 듯 보입니다. 깃발에는 벤조인이나 아편부터 동아시아 신화에 등장하는 동물들까지 비인간 존재들을 상징하는 대상들이 그려져 있습니다. 각 깃발들은 비인간적 존재들의 대표자로서 모두가 한데 결합되어 아상블라주 그 자체를 표상합니다. 또한 깃발들과 함께 설치된 사운드 작품은 방콕과 파주에서 채집된 고음역대의 풀벌레 소리, 인도네시아의 경주용 비둘기들의 소리, 지방정부 선거를 앞두고 재정 부패를 유지하기 위한 수단으로 쓰이는 불필요한 공사에서 발생하는 소음, 그리고 위의 소리들을 찾아가는데 사용된 질문들과 조건들을 읽어 내려가는 내레이션으로 이루어져 있습니다.