Black Atlantis: The Plantationocene

Hameed, Ayesha. 2023. 'Black Atlantis: The Plantationocene'. In: Down alive to wondrous depths. Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain 2 - 3 June 2023. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

‘Down alive to wondrous depths’ Institute for Postnatrual Studies in collaboration with TBA21 Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza.

More than 90% of the planet’s living organisms live in the depths of the oceans. Microscopic life forms or huge cetaceans, strange and intelligent creatures; an underwater world with an enormously varied population. The sea bed, however, is also inhabited by countless remains of shipwrecks, vestiges of failed journeys, the ghosts of colonialism, and more: human culture submerged in time.

Through international voices from the worlds of science, art and ecology this encounter focuses on a wide range of themes ranging from sound ecology and migratory flows to the slave trade or the decline of biodiversity, raising questions in order to consider the oceans from the present day and to weave new accounts in which biology and history, material and myth are among the threads.

The symposium is organised by TBA21 in collaboration with the Institute of Postnatural Studies and within the context of the exhibition Wu Tsang. Of Whales.

Black Atlantis: the Plantationocene is a live audio visual essay, or live powerpoint cinema. It asks: what is the relationship between climate change and plantation economies, and how might we begin to think of a watery Plantationocene? It revolves around two islands: a former plantation in St George’s Parish in Barbados, and the port city of Port of Spain in Trinidad: visiting the heartland of one of the three stops of the triangular trade, and taking seriously Donna Haraway’s and Anna Tsing’s use of the term ‘plantationocene’ which connects the development of a plantation form of production to the beginning of the current geological era that we are in.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Talk)

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Visual Cultures


2 June 2023Completed

Event Location:

Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain

Date range:

2 - 3 June 2023

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

22 Mar 2024 11:32

Last Modified:

22 Mar 2024 11:32


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