Artists explore a world hidden beneath the waves of the Atlantic Ocean through a digital work of art | AFN News

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Artists explore a world hidden beneath the waves of the Atlantic Ocean through a digital work of art

Posted on November 24, 2021

A digital artwork that explores the world hidden beneath the waves of the Atlantic Ocean was commissioned by the international media arts organization York Mediale and the Abandon Normal Devices media arts festival. The play will be presented at the 34th edition of the prestigious Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival (IDFA) from Wednesday 17 to Sunday 28 November.

“One-Fifth of the Earth’s Surface” by Zimbabwean architect Maxwell Mutanda and Ghanaian digital artist Hakeem Adam is an online voyage of discovery that discovers the Atlantic Ocean as an evolving and dynamic archive. Available to dive online until May 2022, the web experience offers the public the ability to navigate ports and rivers, data cable maps and underwater routes to explore the history and significance of the ocean which covers one fifth of the world.

The work is presented as an audiovisual landscape on It features a host of interactive collages and narratives to explore, weaving a series of digitized maps and sound recordings from the British Library’s collections, audio clips recorded in locations across the Atlantic, readings of poetry and literature and accounts of the Atlantic Slav. To exchange.

It also features maps of the hidden layers and landscapes of the ocean, such as canals, dams, and transcontinental data cable routes, which today connect countries and continents.

The work will appear at IDFA as part of the festival’s Liminal Reality exhibition, a series of interactive artwork and virtual reality installations, and is also one of ten projects selected for the competition. IDFA DocLab for Digital Storytelling, which celebrates the different ways we can create stories. and what these stories can tell us about our current reality. Artist Hakeem Adam will also speak about the piece at the festival’s DocLab conference, which features lectures and artist performances on the structures that control our lives, from climate to colonialism.

Hakeem adam

Hakeem Adam, artist, says:

“Maxwell and I wanted to create an online experience as smooth as the Atlantic itself. We have deliberately not told the public exactly what to do when they visit the website; they must make their own journey and discover all the hidden content on their own. We wanted to show that digital art can be as creative as art on gallery walls or in a physical exhibit.

Maxwell Mutanda, artist, says:

“Diving into the history of the Atlantic Ocean has been fascinating and at times difficult. We’re all shaped by Atlantic history – you can still see the legacy of the colonial powers at play in the place names on world maps, and even through the routes of our data cables on the background. of the ocean today.

Maxwell Mutanda

Maxwell and Hakeem were selected for this commission via a competition open to participants who participated in the British Council’s ColabNowNow program between 2017 and 2019. The competition aimed to provide an international opportunity for African artists, while building the first co-commission for York . Mediale and abandon normal appliances. The two organizations have defined the Water Theme for Eligible Practitioners to come up with a new collaborative project that could involve the Foss and Ouse rivers in York, and the Abandon Normal Devices base near the Mersey River and the Canal. Manchester Maritime.

Tom Higham, Creative Director of York Mediale, comments:

“Commissioning new works and working closely with artists, similar organizations and original events is what makes our work special. We have forged relationships with artists like Hakeem and Maxwell for years and it is through a common challenge, a desire to push the boundaries and take a close look at what we can develop together that we are able to create. a dynamic and significant work on an international scale.

An independent arts charity, York Mediale was originally founded in 2016 to celebrate York’s designation as the first and only UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts in the UK. Since then, the team has hosted a biennial festival in the city, providing a platform for some of the biggest names currently producing media arts and working closely with new and emerging artists. Over the past 18 difficult months, the team has turned to a model that they believe can thrive and thrive in the long run.

“One-Fifth of the Earth’s Surface” is part of York Mediale’s ambitious 2021 program that includes commissions from around the world, from “People We Love” to York Minster and “Absent Sitter” to Ars Electronica in Austria, to “Immersive Assembly”, a new online residency for digital artists covering six countries around the world.

“One fifth of the Earth’s surface” is funded with public funds from the Arts Council England and the British Council.