Recent scholarship in the blue humanities, or critical ocean studies, has turned to the mutable relationship between human bodies and the ocean, shifting from depictions of a seascape across which human bodies attain agency to considering the experience and representability of sea ontologies, wet matter, and transcorporeal engagements with the more-than-human world. This work generally focuses on a universalized ocean (as nonhuman nature) rather than a geographically and culturally specific place (as history). The authors' work turns the visual focus from the surface to the depths, engaging with the Caribbean Sea and contemporary artists who depict a gendered oceanic intimacy and aesthetics of diffraction and submergence. Building upon the 2017 exhibition Relational Undercurrents: Contemporary Art of the Caribbean Archipelago, curated by Tatiana Flores, this article expands the conversation from the archipelagic to the submarine, engaging “tidalectic” representations of underwater bodies through ontologies and aesthetics of diffraction. The authors consider the work of artists Tony Capellán, Jean-Ulrick Désert, María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Nadia Huggins, and David Gumbs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Oceanic humanities
- Visual studies