Them, the oceans, bodies, lovers, rivers, voices, sexualities, and us, “ourselves [the] sea, sand, coral, seaweed, beaches, tides, swimmers, children, waves”.
Borrowing its title from Hélène Cixous’ essay The Laugh of the Medusa (1976), the group show attempts to discuss the notion of agency and its capacity to resonate through entangled relationships.
In response to the context where Laurel is situated – a polder reclaimed in the 17th century to facilitate the “Buitenplaats” of the wealthy Dutch merchants – ‘Our Seas Are What We Make of Them’ thinks alongside the importance of water in the colonial history of the area. It gathers differently-situated artists to poetically reclaim the narratives of the sea as an abstract that serves to support the male-centred historical references. We think of the early neoliberal 16th century “Mare Liberum” that considered the ocean an inexhaustible resource and transformed it into a commodity to serve the purpose of extraction and accumulation, the imperialistic “Mare Nostrum” claiming the sea as a territory of the Roman Empire, and the latest homonymous Frontex fatal border operation.
The exhibition uses the water and the voice as a platform and methodology respectively to highlight its composing elements. It becomes a vessel, a stage and amplifier of the voices discussing women’s agency, embodied oceanic thinking while blending ancient cosmologies, myths and marine ecologies.
Our Seas Are What We Make of Them
With works by Sophie Utikal, Anto López Espinosa, Kristina Õllek, Sara Milio, Enar de Dios Rodriguez, Baratto & Mouravas
Public programme by Isadora Tomasi, Constanza Bizraelli & Reading with friends (of friends)
Curated by Angeliki Tzortzakaki
Laurel Project Space
Photography: Laurel Project Space