Submerged bodies: The tidalectics of representability and the sea in caribbean art

Elizabeth DeLoughrey, Tatiana Flores

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLiquid Ecologies in Latin American and Caribbean Art
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9780429520419
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)


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