Bodies of Water: A Confluence of Voices

with Phoebe Boswell

  • A sequence of waves lapping on a beach

Past Event

This event was on Thursday 17 Nov, 7pm

Access Information

Bodies of Water: A Confluence of Voices

Thursday 17 Nov, 7pm | Zilka Auditorium | £5

In an evening of readings, Phoebe Boswell, Whitechapel Gallery’s Writer in Residence 2022, embraces the fluidity of language and storytelling as a means to unpack the cultural associations with which bodies of water are imbued. Sharing new writing based on research for recent and ongoing work, Boswell explores the relentless dichotomy of water. Layers of historic violence and trauma attest to how it continues to bear witness to an inequitable society, while its ebb and its flow, its surge and its swell, posit water as site for possible renewal, rebirth, reclamation – a healing, holding, place.

Throughout history and into the contemporary, bodies of water have carried a multiplicity of associations within the diasporic conscience. They are at once the markers of geopolitical boundary and the porous expanse between here and there – thresholds of non-citizenship. Water becomes archive for histories of trade, trafficking, forced migrations, fugitivity, subjugation, upheaval, violence, and refusal – while holding space for the radical imagination to propose something new. As locus of both hauntology and of hope, water holds within it and within us prophetic and remedial properties. We mourn and we float and we heal and we swim.

About Phoebe Boswell

Phoebe Boswell‘s figurative and multidisciplinary practice denotes a commitment of care for how we see ourselves and each other. Underpinned by a porous, diasporic consciousness, she explores notions of inter/personal freedom, protest, grief, intimacy, migration, embodiment and world-making through the prism of race and gender, collective histories and possible futures.  

Working intuitively across media, she centres drawing but spans animation, sound, video, writing, interactivity, performance and chorality to create layered, immersive installations which affect and are affected by the environments they occupy, by time, the serendipity of loops, and the presence of the audience.