Ways of Knowing

Water/Fluidity

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8 April – 29 July 2021

Whitechapel Gallery Online

Monday Closed
Tuesday 11am–6pm
Wednesday 11am–6pm
Thursday 11am–6pm
Friday 11am–6pm
Saturday 11am–6pm
Sunday 11am–6pm

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Water/Fluidity

8 April – 29 July 2021 

“I wonder if my forbears were replicator modules as I am told, which seems even more outrageous than floating free in the organic soup, completely surrounded by newts.” – Eileen Agar, A Journey Through the Eye

What can we learn from water? How do we orientate ourselves towards fluidity? 

Eileen Agar was fascinated by water worlds – marine life, shells, the coastal and the amphibious. This series of events invites artists and thinkers to investigate contemporary fluidities and new imaginations of water, at a moment when our human relationship to it is arguably at its most strained. 

This season we submerge ourselves in oceans, rivers and ponds to consider the imaginative possibilities of the aquatic. Following hydro-feminist scholar Astrida Neimanis, who delivers a Big Ideas lecture for the season, we observe new ways of thinking about the fluidities of bodies, the significance of ‘weathering’ and consider the flows of ‘wet matter’. A film work The Word for Water is Whale and accompanying talk by artist Zadie Xa delves into themes of marine existences and diasporic knowledges across oceans. Bodies in flow across continents is also a focus for Lebanese born Umama Hamido’s film essay On Akka’s Shore.  Meanwhile, Sydney based artist Taloi Havini is joined by curator Margarida Mendes to discuss her most recent work, which subverts the practice of deep-sea mapping through indigenous knowledges.

We explore the complex and multiple ritual relationships to the otherwise everyday urban river with Chloe Dewe Matthews Thames Log. London’s watery artery is also an active player for Huw Wahl’s The Republics, in a cinematic journey that takes us to the outer reaches of the British Isles, meeting Joshua Bonnetta’s The Two Sights in the waterscapes of the Outer Hebrides. The brutality of the role of North Sea oil in climate collapse is explored  with Suzanne Dhaliwal in James Marriott and Terry Macalister‘s book Crude Britannia, alongside a screening of Petropolis, Peter Mettler’s remarkable vision of the Alberta Tar Sands catastrophe. In contrast, artist Cristina Iglesias speaks about her undersea reef sculptures for non-human marine life, while artist collective Matterlurgy give focus to freshwater dwellers in their participatory workshop and project, River Studio.

This programme is part of Ways of Knowing: Imagining Other Futures.

Live Events Programme

Online Projects

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Zadie Xa: The Word for Water is Whale

Coming Soon

Xa presents a new online film work exploring the interconnectedness of memory, travel and knowledge transmission via deep listening required to further understand our world and those with whom we share it.