Hydrarchy at the Contemporary Image Collective

Ahram Online, Tuesday 29 Nov 2011

A new exhibition examines the sea as a contested political space


The exhibition “Hydrarchy - Transitional and Transformative Seas”, which looks at the sea as a geopolitical space, is due to open in Cairo on Sunday, 4 December.

Hydrarchy's area of investigation is largely centred on the Mediterranean Basin, the Suez Canal and the broader North African context.

These spaces are taken not only as flashpoints within the network of international economic and military relations, but also as spaces bearing the unmarked and embodied experiences of those attempting to migrate to Europe; spaces where the outlines of the nation state are simultaneously stretched and punctured, and where new fictions of sovereignty and cultural distinction are written and unwritten.

If Egypt has historically been a case in point, most of whose land borders are administrative constructions with a linear simplicity that belies the violence behind their construction, the country's water borders are acknowledged “natural” sites of contest. The recent flotillas to Gaza from Turkey challenge Israel's blockade in a performative, rather than militaristic manner, in contrast to the land-based border conflicts between Egypt and Israel. Through testing the use of the waters blockaded by Israel, they highlight a series of boundaries maintained in the service of ideology rather than international law.

Artists participating in the exhibition are Ayed Arafah, Bouchra Khalili, Uriel Orlow, The Otolith Group, Xaviera Simmons, Take to the Sea and Lawrence Weiner.


Opens Sunday 4 December, 7pm

Contemporary Image Collective (CIC), 22 Abdel Khalek Tharwat, Downtown Cairo

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