Public Engagement

General Public

The Ocean After Nature - exhibition

Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery, Sheila C. Johnson Design Center 2 West 13th Street New York, NY 10011

Curator's walkthrough and opening reception: Friday, February 9, 5:30-8:00 p.m.

The Ocean After Nature considers the ocean as reflecting the ecological, cultural, political, and economic realities of a globalized world. Featuring work by 20 artists and collectives in a variety of media — including photography, video, sculpture, and design — the exhibition explores new ways of representing the seascape as a means to identify and critique land-sea divides, the circulation of people and goods, and the vulnerabilities of ecosystems.

In the past 15 years, global technological and economic shifts have triggered new concerns and understandings of the ocean. Invoking personal themes of identity and migration, alongside more universal concerns related to tourism, trade, and the exploitation of natural resources, the internationally established and emerging artists in The Ocean After Nature respond to the intertwined factors that define this new understanding of the ocean. The show proposes that seascapes do not only reflect power but can be instruments of power themselves.

Featured artists include Ursula Biemann, CAMP, Yonatan Cohen & Rafi Segal, Mati Diop, Drexciya, Peter Fend, Manuel Gnam, Renée Green, Peter Hutton, Hyung S. Kim, An-My Lê, Manny Montelibano, The Otolith Group, Maria D. Rapicavoli, Carissa Rodriguez, Allan Sekula & Nöel Burch, Supersudaca, and UNITED BROTHERS.

The Ocean After Nature is a traveling exhibition curated by Alaina Claire Feldman, a curator and Director of Exhibitions at  Independent Curators International (ICI) since 2011, and produced by Independent Curators International (ICI), New York, in collaboration with the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center. The exhibition and tour are made possible, in part, with the generous support from ICI’s International Forum and the ICI Board of Trustees.


Film screenings:

All screenings take place in the 
Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Auditorium, 66 Fifth Avenue, Ground Floor 
Parsons School of Design at The New School

In conjunction with the exhibition, The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center presents a film program featuring works by the Mumbai-based collective CAMP, the artist Renée Green, and The Otolith Group, as well as a rare presentation of Allan Sekula and Noël Burch’s highly acclaimed The Forgotten Space.


Friday, February 16. 6:00-8:30 pm


The Forgotten Space, 2010 
112 min.

The main subject of The Forgotten Space is the ocean, not as a traditional site of romantic or surrealist adventure, but in its contemporary and invisible role as a buttress of global capitalism. Focusing on the harbors of Los Angeles, Rotterdam, Bilbao, and Hong Kong, the film shows how cargo containers have transformed maritime shipping into an instrument of labor exploitation and environmental devastation.


Friday, March 9. 6:00-8:30 pm


Endless Dreams and Water Between, 2009 
70 min.

Endless Dreams and Water Between captures a journey across dispersed sites: California, Manhattan and Majorica, held together by epistolary and oceanic exchanges among four fictional female characters who dream aloud about one day gathering in an imaginary place together. The film explores how islands shape our understanding of place in the world through conceptual, spacial, and historical positioning.


Hydra Decapita, 2010 
31:41 min.

Hydra Decapita is a meta-documentary of an imaginary world based on the concept albums of Detroit based techno duo Drexciya. The myth of Drexciya is based on an underwater country populated by the evolved species of unborn children of pregnant women thrown overboard during the middle-passage of slave ships across the Atlantic. Amidst commenting on globalization, slavery, capitalism and climate change, the film is interrupted by high-contrast tight shots of flickering water, an intentionally abstract depiction of the perspective of the sea looking back at us.


Friday, March 30. 6:00-8:30 pm


From Gulf to Gulf to Gulf, 2013 
83 min.

From Gulf to Gulf to Gulf is a vast, undulating, and musical spatio-temporal journey through the Western Indian Ocean and a result of four years of dialogue, friendship and Exchange between CAMP and a group of sailors from the Gulf of Kutch who make and sail boats. They also make videos, sometimes with songs married to them. The film follows the physical crossings through the gulfs of Kutch, Persia, and Aden made by oversized wooden vessels that still today enable a vital order of a “world-trade," a kind the moves perpendicular to the phenomena of both piracy and sanctions.

Recent Activity

People Interested

Getting Here

Detailed Directions

By Train:
The 4, 5, 6, N, R, Q and L to 14th St./Union Square.
The A, C and E to 14th St. and 8th Ave.
The 1, 2 and 3 to 14th St. and 7th Ave.
The F and M to 14th St. and 6th Ave.
PATH train to 14th St. and 6th Ave.