Down Alive To Wondrous Depths

Down Alive To Wondrous Depths


TBA21, Ayesha Hameed,

Juan Pablo Pacheco, Huniti Goldox






Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum


Galapagos, 2013. Photo: TBA21.
Galapagos, 2013. Photo: TBA21.

Exploring the oceans from contemporary ecology, science, speculation, and fiction.

More than 90% of the living beings on the planet live in the depths of the oceans. Their waters are inhabited by microscopic beings or immense cetaceans, strange and intelligent creatures forming a submerged population of enormous diversity. Also resting on the sea bed, however, are countless remains of shipwrecks, vestiges of failed journeys, and phantoms of colonialism: human culture submerged in time.

Coordinated by the Institute for Postnatural Studies, this symposium will broaden the imagery the artist Wu Tsang created through her exhibition Of Whales. Focusing on the ocean as a place of opportunity from which to tell hidden stories, marginal narratives, and tales of coexistence, the submerged worlds of the marine depths will be explored to vindicate the fluid, the states in which bodies, identities, histories and ideas cannot be discussed in static or binary terms. Through international voices of science, art, and ecology, the subjects addressed will include acoustic ecology, flows and migrations, the slave trade, and the deterioration of biodiversity, and questions will be raised to think about the oceans from a contemporary perspective, weaving new narratives that will entwine biology and history, matter and myth.

General Information

Friday, June 2: Guests Talks (From 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm) Saturday, June 3: Open Forum, introduced by the Institute for Postnatural Studies (From 10:00 am to 12:00 pm) Free entry: Ticket reservation at Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza website.

Location: Auditorium at Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza

Language: Spanish and English with simultaneous translation


Black Atlantis: the Plantationocene (By Ayesha Hameed ) is a live audio-visual essay, or live PowerPoint cinema. It asks: what is the relationship between climate change and plantation economies, and how might we begin to think of a watery plantationocene? It revolves around two islands: a former plantation in St George’s Parish in Barbados, and the port city of Port of Spain in Trinidad: visiting the heartland of one of the three stops of the triangular trade and taking seriously Donna Haraway’s and Anna Tsing’s use of the term ‘plantationocene’ which connects the development of a plantation form of production to the beginning of the current geological era that we are in.

Juan Pablo Pacheco Bejarano will present his most recent projects around water and technology, focused on telepathy as a way of relating to distance and otherness through depth and humidity. As part of these reflections, he will share his most recent projects on the Atlantis-2 undersea fiber optic cable, the first to connect Europe and South America, and on the pink dolphin from the Orinoco River, a mythological being trapped by coltan mining and hydroelectric infrastructure.

Performativity of Matter (By Huniti Goldox, Eliza Goldox & Areej Huniti) unveils new, or hidden, terrains that make or unmake geographies and their material composition. Huniti Goldox’s research on erotic ecology, enforced mutation, and water politics of the last 4.5 years will guide the different touch points of the screening lecture. Through video works, soundscapes, and digital re-enactments, the frame will offer insights into the interconnectedness of ecological and geopolitical realities. One that demands an active engagement with the world when it comes to revealing the lines of power that affect present ecological concerns such as resource scarcity, ecosystem collapse, extraction, and dispossession.


Ayesha Hameed (London, UK) makes videos, sound works, textiles, and performances. She is also a creative writer, critical essayist, and poet. She has appeared on the BBC on several occasions as an artist and thinker. Hameed’s work explores the legacies of indentureship and slavery through the figures of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Her speculative approach examines the mnemonic power of the media she uses and intermixes: their capacity to transform the body into a body that remembers. The motifs of water, borders, and displacement, recurrent in her work, offer a reflection on migration stories and materialities, and, more broadly, on the relations between human beings and what they imagine as nature.

Recent commissions include solo exhibitions at Bonniers Konsthall (2022) Kunstinstituut Melly (2022), Indigo Waves at Zeitz MOCCA (2022), as well as contributions to the Liverpool Biennale (2021), Gothenburg Biennales (2019 and 2021), Momenta Biennale (2021), Lubumbashi Biennale (2019) and Dakar Biennale (2018). She is co-editor of Futures and Fictions (Repeater 2017) and co-author of Visual Cultures as Time Travel (Sternberg/MIT 2021). She is currently a Senior Lecturer in Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths University of London and a Kone Foundation Research Fellow (2022-2026)

Juan Pablo Pacheco Bejarano (Bogotá, 1991) is an artist, writer and educator passionate about the historical, material, and mythological relations between technology and ecology. His work dives into water, infrastructures, and telepathy, seeking to imagine media and mediations beyond extraction. Juan Pablo currently lives in the Netherlands, where he is a resident at the Jan van Eyck academie and a lecturer at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in The Hague. He has also taught at the Javeriana and Andes Universities in Bogotá, and has worked as a programming coordinator at Plataforma Bogotá, a laboratory for art, science and technology, and Espacio Odeon, a space for contemporary art. His works have been developed and disseminated in Colombia, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Mexico, Canada, Brazil, and Russia, among others.

HUNITI GOLDOX is an artist duo consisting of Areej Huniti and Eliza Goldox. In their practice they are interested in how political systems, transitions and violence are affecting water bodies and landscapes. Through contextual examinations of geopolitical realities, marginalized oral histories and mythologies they create films, videos, VR-works, installations, conversations, texts, in addition to formats that can involve different voices and beings, such as workshops, excursions and interventions. This stems from the desire to create moments for collective imagining and re-imagining to collapse dominant narratives and fixed geographies. More specifically they engage with the notion of enforced mutation as a way to attend to present social and ecological struggles while demanding speculative answers to confront systematic oppression. They started this with a project on the buried water stream in the center of Amman/ Jordan then they extended to the swamp lands and Mediterranean coast of Tunis/ Tunisia, the artificial lake land of Leipzig, the urban development projects around Tirana River and the Vistula River in Poland.

Areej Huniti received an MA in Global Digital Cultures at SOAS University of London and Eliza Goldox awarded an MA in Art & Design at Chelsea College/ University of the Arts London. Their work got exhibited at Darat Al Funun, The MMAG Foundation & The Jordan National Gallery, Goethe Institute in Amman, SomoS Art House in Berlin, at School Of Waters/ Biennale Mediterranea in San Marino, Sheffield Film Festival, D21 in Leipzig, TBA Academy/ Ocean Uni, Tirana Art Lab and Hauser&Wirth Menorca.

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