Ocean Calling, 2017

Photo: Courtesy the artist

Wearable sculptures and performance
Dimensions variable
Music based on PNG field recordings gathered by Andrew Spyrow, and the Declaration signed by the Pacific Island Countries and Territories during the Pacific Regional Platform for Partnerships and Action on SDG14
Commissioned by TBA21–Academy

Commissioned by TBA21–Academy for World Ocean Day 2017, Laura Anderson Barbata’s work Ocean Calling charts the physical and emotional relationship to life in our ocean and the urgent need for collective transformation. Anderson Barbata – a Mexican artist living and working in New York – has created a performance work that embodies her first-hand experiences and research into ancient wisdom whilst on expedition in Papua New Guinea with the Academy. The resulting work combines spoken word, dance, improvisation, stilt dancing, ritual, procession, costuming and music to create a unique form of storied performance that will unfold in the plaza in front of the United Nations Headquarters.
Ocean Calling is inspired by all the forms of life that make the ocean their home, as well as by the people, the histories and the cosmography of the communities that for millennia have lived in close relationship with the ocean. Ocean Calling unfolded at the United Nations Headquarters Plaza on Ocean Day June 6, 2017, inviting audiences to first acknowledge our intersecting identities and then, to celebrate and honor them by changing behaviors to protect our oceans.
The work also highlights the importance of the Declaration signed by Pacific Island Countries and Territories to significantly improve Ocean governance, which was drafted during the Pacific Regional Platform for Partnerships and Action on Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG14) meeting, which took place in 2017 in Suva, Fiji.
Ocean Calling has been developed in collaboration with artists from Mexico, Jamaica and the Caribbean diaspora. The first iteration of Ocean Calling was premiered as What-Lives-Beneath in 2016 for TBA21–Academy at "The Kula Ring" Convening in Jamaica.

*1958 in Mexico City, Mexico | Living and working in Mexico City, Mexico and New York, USA
Laura Anderson Barbata at the Kula Ring Expedition of TBA21-Academy in May 2016