The Wire reviews The Ocean After Nature

<em>The Wire</em> 390

The Wire 390

Posted on July 13, 2016

Sam Lefebvre reviews The Ocean After Nature in The Wire 390.

The Ocean After Nature provokes viewers to reconsider the contours of global capitalism. It does not explore the plaza or the town square, widely thought to have supplanted the factory floor as the foremost sites of political expression. And it does not really explore the gaseous, diffuse networks of international finance that many political-economic theorists consider the definitive feature of contemporary capital circulation. The exhibition, curated by Alaina Claire Feldman, centres instead on the transport of goods and bodies and bodies-as-goods across bodies of water, a hallmark of globalisation with a pervasive impact on everyday life that’s often neglected in the age of seemingly instantaneous commerce online.

Art that investigates the anthropocene, the period in which human activity affects all aspects of the climate, is often project- or solution-based, featuring documentation of environmental activism under the banner of social practice. The Ocean After Nature certainly emphasises the environmental and human cost of the convoluted systems implemented by companies and countries seeking market advantage and neocolonial dominance. But it’s not particularly didactic In fact, some of the strongest work is in awe of the ways humans at the periphery of global capitalism have adapted.

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