Sea Creature
Studium Generale 2021-2022 Rietveld Academie

Natasha Ginwala and Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung with Michelangelo Corsaro, Invocation #2: Markings and Moorings: Indigo Waves and Other Stories

‘Amarres' (moorings) in Réunion Creole means many different things: link, attachment, bewitchment, spellbinding, to be in love, to be captivated, to be in a relationship, to care for [amarlë ker], to enliven the senses (i amar la boush). And a few other things as well.
– Françoise Vergès and Carpanin Marimoutou, Moorings: Indian Ocean Creolisations (2012)

The connective space of the Afrasian Ocean is one of deep attachments, diasporic kinship, creolised tongues and political affinities. Let us say, Moorings as Françoise Vergès and Carpanin Marimoutou understand the term. Here, crossings and border-defying ways of being have long spun historiographies shaped by movement at every level from monsoon winds to currents of trade, and aqueous itinerancy composed by citizens of water – ancient and in the making. Taking a page from Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor’s literary odyssey Dragonfly Sea, we journey towards the many names the Indian Ocean is called by, its many hues, peoples and shores. Muddying ideas of nation-based sovereignty while reckoning with historic and contemporary civic struggles around port infrastructure and seascapes of destruction, through this convening, we immerse in the ritualistic and sonic legacies of seafaring communities as aural inheritances and ‘interconnected archives’ (Renisa Mawani). Further, the passage of epidemic and dispersal of human and beyond human lives through Afrasian waterways is observed as part of pre-imperial continuum, early globalisms and mercantile ambition.

Through a series of invocations and exhibitions, Indigo Waves and Other Stories in partnership with institutions across Cape Town, Berlin, Haarlem, Karachi and Brisbane engages oceanic modes of analyses, resonance and convening foregrounding the Indian Ocean World as method (Isabel Hofmeyr). Partner Institutions: Vasl Artists' Association, Karachi; Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town; Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin; SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin; Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem; IMA, Brisbane

Project led by Natasha Ginwala and Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung with Michelangelo Corsaro

Natasha Ginwala is a curator and writer. She is associate curator at Gropius Bau, Berlin and Artistic Director of the 13th Gwangju Biennale with Defne Ayas. Ginwala has curated Contour Biennale 8, Polyphonic Worlds: Justice as Medium and was part of the curatorial team of documenta 14, 2017. Other recent projects include COLOMBOSCOPE Festival Sea Change (2019); Arrival, Incision. Indian Modernism as Peripatetic Itinerary in the framework of ‘Hello World. Revising a Collection’ at Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin, 2018; Riots: Slow Cancellation of the Future at ifa Gallery Berlin and Stuttgart, 2018; My East Is Your West at the 56th Venice Biennale, 2015 and Corruption: Everybody Knows… with e-flux, New York, 2015. Ginwala was a member of the artistic team for the 8th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, 2014, and has co-curated the Museum of Rhythm, at Taipei Biennial 2012 and at Muzeum Sztuki, Łódź, 2016–17. From 2013–15, in collaboration with Vivian Ziherl, she led the multi-part curatorial project Landings presented at various partner organisations. Ginwala writes on contemporary art and visual culture in various periodicals and has contributed to numerous publications. She is a recipient of the 2018 visual arts research grant from the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe.

Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung is an independent curator, author and biotechnologist. He is founder and artistic director of SAVVY Contemporary in Berlin and is the artistic director of Sonsbeek20–24, a quadrennial contemporary art exhibition in Arnhem, the Netherlands He is professor in the Spatial Strategies MA program at the Weissensee Academy of Art in Berlin. Curator of Dark'Art Biennial 2018 in Dakar, Senegal. He is the Artistic Director of Rencontres de Bamako (2021-22), Mali. From 2023 he will take on the role of Director at Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) in Berlin.

Michelangelo Corsaro is a curator and writer currently based in Berlin. He was associate curator of the 13th Gwangju Biennale, Minds Rising, Spirits Tuning, directed by Defne Ayas and Natasha Ginwala. He organized Leidy Churchman’s solo exhibition Snowlion and Liliane Lijn’s Cosmic Dramas at Rodeo, Piraeus. He assisted in the curatorial team of Documenta 14, working on the conception and production of several artistic projects in Athens as well as in Kassel. In 2016 he curated Socratis Socratous solo exhibition Casts of an Island, at Point Centre for Contemporary Art, Nicosia and the group show Handsome, Young, and Unemployed, at Komplot, Brussels. He was twice fellow curator at the Schwarz Foundation in 2013 and 2014, collaborating on Slavs and Tatars’s Long Legged Linguistics and Nevin Aladağ’s Borderline at the Art Space Pythagorion, Samos. From 2013 to 2015 he has been curator at Kunsthalle Athena where he contributed to developing a programme of exhibitions and live events. As part of the editorial team of South as a State of Mind he contributed to several printed issues and managed the online magazine until 2015. His texts were published in Critical Collective, ArtReview, South as a State of Mind and CAC Interviu.