Imagine the ocean / dry as lavender
Online exhibition after OCEAN / UNI
July 8 – July 31, 2022


“Imagine the ocean / dry as lavender”, says a line of a beautiful poem by Andrée Chedid. And then: “Imagine branches / ceasing to be perches / for the birds”. These vivid words guided us often over the last year. They became the title for a collective research coinciding with the spring semester of OCEAN / UNI, focused on the acceleration of aridity as a marker of climate change and climate injustice around the Mediterraneans and beyond.

Now, they help us to regroup the artists and filmmakers who accepted our invitation to participate in this online exhibition stemming from that experience. With their works, they contribute to a poetic and poignant expansion of our initial reflections and ask us to imagine many different presents and possible futures.

We aimed to study the contemporary Mediterraneans and their coastal areas by departing from situated dialogues between dryness and wetness in order to elaborate on their implications on a planetary scale. In a time of rapidly changing climatic conditions, occurring faster than most species’ adaptation rhythms, artists, activists, local communities and scientists alike are struggling together to contribute towards a much-needed societal change - one that is hard to achieve under dominating systems that disregard localized specificities and ecological knowledges in favor of an often forced, harmful homogenization. How can aridity be inhabited and how to listen to those who have learned - or were forced - to adapt to it?

The cycle of water is mutating, and with it are forests and deserts, wildfires and hurricanes, rivers and seas. Landscapes and currents are moving, old maps and their demarcations are becoming obsolete, while state-national borders are fixed. Humans and more-than-humans are migrating. Art can shift commonplace narratives of this scenario.  
Nacer Khemir looks at water starting from the desert and its dwellers, in a visual connection between water and sand; Raphaël Grisey, Kàddu Yaraax & Bouba Touré offer us a poetic view on the connection of the desert with the waters surrounding them; Daniela Medina Poch and Elizabeth Gallón Droste develop a dialogue with the Mediterranean rivers and their many voices; Abdellah Hassak invites his listeners to harmonize their life rhythm with the natural one through an auditive immersion inspired by a fragment of ice; Mohammed Laouli & Katrin Ströbel lead an exploration along some of the lines that cross the fluid spaces of the Mediterraneans; by means of science fiction, Nadim Choufi questions how “sustainable” closed systems responding to ecological crises may shape the future of smart cities; while Jumana Manna tells the story of some traveling seeds and their human companions between Syria, Lebanon and the Svalbard islands; finally, Cecile Hummel’s piece represents a journey following the many connections that cross the Mediterraneans. 

This online exhibition is curated by Barbara Casavecchia together with former Ocean Fellows Pietro Consolandi, Abiba Coulibaly, Justine Daquin and Zoé Le Voyer (Calypso 36°21).
July 8–July 31
Nadim Choufi; Raphaël Grisey, Kàddu Yaraax & Bouba Touré; Cécile Hummel; Abdellah Hassak; Nacer Khemir; Mohammed Laouli & Katrin Ströbel; Jumana Manna; Daniela Medina Poch & Elizabeth Gallon Dröste; and Abdessamad El Montassir.
Barbara Casavecchia with former Ocean Fellows Pietro Consolandi, Abiba Coulibaly, Justine Daquin and Zoé Le Voyer (Calypso 36°21).
Friday, July 8

Friday, July 8 and Monday, July 11:
Nacer Khemir: El Haimoune (1984), 97’
Streaming at 12 pm, 6 pm and 9 pm CET | See the event on Facebook

Thursday, July 14 and Friday, July 15:
Raphaël Grisey, Kàddu Yaraax & Bouba Touré: Traana (2017), 27’
Streaming at 12 pm, 6 pm and 9 pm CET  | See the event on Facebook

Thursday, July 21 and Friday, July 22:
Jumana Manna: Wild Relatives (2018), 64’
Streaming at 12 pm, 6 pm and 9 pm CET | See the event on Facebook

Thursday, July 28 and Friday, July 29:
Nadim Choufi: The Sky Oscillates Between Eternity and its Immediate Consequences (2021), 18’
Streaming at 12 pm, 6 pm and 9 pm CET | See the event on Facebook

Friday, July 8 - Monday, July 31
Works available online:

Abdellah Hassak with Qanat collective: A piece of water (2017)
Cécile Hummel: Così lontano – così vicino, fotografie e immagini d’archivio dal bacino mediterraneo alla Persia (2021)
Mohammed Laouli & Katrin Ströbel: Fluid boundaries (2015)
Daniela Medina Poch & Elizabeth Gallón Dröste: Intersecting
Abdessamad El Montassir: Ayachef/Galb'Echaouf (2021)– available only on ocean comm/uni/ty