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Khadija Von Zinnenburg Carroll, Cook's New Clothes (2018). Image courtesy of the artist.

There are many different versions of the Atlantic. Our personal relationship to the ocean: the inner felt experience of standing at the edge of a seemingly limitless body of water, stretching away to a far distant horizon, for instance, is a world apart from the geopolitical understanding of the Atlantic that has come to define our contemporary global order. 

The North Atlantic matrix of power, commonly referred to as ‘the West’, has dominated since Europeans first landed in the so-called ‘New World’, imposing their master narrative of modernity and Enlightenment reason hand-in-hand with a colonial-settler logic of enslavement, extraction and genocide. In their wake, a new transcontinental Black Atlantic emerged, described by Paul Gilroy as being “not specifically African, American, Caribbean, or British, but all of these at once”, transcending ethnicity and nationality to embody a hybrid counterculture of modernity. More recently, with the rise of decolonisation movements around the world, the Global South has embarked upon a radical process of "de-linking" its own narratives of modernity, dismantling the Western apparatus of a supposedly "universal knowledge" that excluded any worldview other than a Eurocentric (Mercator) projection. The former subalterns of colonialism refuse any longer to be defined by the "British Atlantic", the "French Atlantic", the "Spanish Atlantic", the "Portuguese Atlantic", and so on.

In contesting the totalising claims and epistemic violence of North Atlantic modernity, the "pluriversalism" of the Global South also puts into question the temporalities and relationalities which have defined Western culture. In their place, new forms of knowledge are required, and with them new forms of subjectivity and new ways of imagining the future. 

This strand of the Creative Peninsula project considers how the South West Peninsula can be situated in relation to the Black Atlantic, and how a new vision of "Atlantica" might allow us to imagine a different future.

The Atlantica / Black Atlantic strand is co-directed by Ashish Ghadiali (Co-Chair of the Black Atlantic Innovation Network) and Professor Tom Trevor (Art History & Visual Culture, University of Exeter).

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The Atlantic Project (2018) 

Artists: Nilbar Güreş, Tommy Støckel, Liu Chuang, Yan Wang Preston, Hito Steyerl, Vermeir & Heiremans, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Donald Rodney, Shezad Dawood, Postcommodity, Ryoji Ikeda, Carl Slater, SUPERFLEX, Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll, Uriel Orlow, Chang Jia, Jane Grant & John Matthias, Ursula Biemann, Bryony Gillard, Kranemann + Emmett

Taking place in unconventional locations across the city of Plymouth, The Atlantic Project brought together 20 artists and collectives from 12 different countries, presenting 60 art works, including 20 new site-specific commissions situated in 15 different ‘non-art’ locations, curated by Tom Trevor.