This year, the Sea Art Festival embraces the flux, precarity, and the unknown within which we all find ourselves, by tracing the liquid flows running across all human and non-human bodies that enmesh us in a complex assemblage of friction, resonance, and kinship.

Our Festival venue in Busan comprises Ilgwang Beach, Gijang county, and the East Sea, where artists render visible the latent interrelations among these ecologies, creating portals through their installations: portals to deep-sea temporal journeys, the geo-politics of interspecies extractivism, oceanic cyberpunk creatures, more-than-human ancestral spirits in Gijang village, the meandering lives of algae and eels, the soundscapes of queer corporealities, the luminescent poetry of sea-wind and anemones.

Ritika Biswas, the Artistic Director of Sea Art Festival 2021 is from Kolkata, India. She is the youngest, and first foreign and female artistic director in Sea Art Festival history. She studied Literature, Art, and Humanities at Yale-NUS College, Singapore, subsequently receiving her MPhil in Film and Screen Studies from the University of Cambridge. Until recently, she was a curator at New Art Exchange in the UK.

Our participating artists are: Kyunghwa Kim, Yejun Ryu, Jae Kuk An, Jin Sun Lee, Hanjin Choi, Joydeb Roaja, Kerem Ozan Bayraktar, Lee, Kuei-Chih, Rohini Devasher, Shezad Dawood, Ru Kim, OBBA, Byungchul Cho, Anna Kim (Korea Research Institute for Culture Technology), Taewon Oh, Jiandyin, Raqs Media Collective, Leeroy New, Choi+Shine Architects, Vuth Lyno, Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey, Abhijan Toto, bela, Hutsama Juntaratana, Pujita, Rosalia Namsai Engchuan, Thanakorn Phonthanakornkul, Yonaz Kristy, Zeke Sales for the Forest Curriculum, and Lawrence Abu Hamdan.

In the age of bio-ecological collapse and socio-political upheaval, how do we become porous and extend our consciousness beyond the self? To evoke Jasbir Puar’s thinking from her essay ‘I would rather be a cyborg than a goddess’: “Assemblages do not privilege bodies as human, nor as residing within a human animal/nonhuman animal binary. Along with a de-exceptionalizing of human bodies, multiple forms of matter can be bodies—bodies of water, cities, institutions, and so on.” Sea Art Festival 2021 invites visitors to experience uncanny, joyful, and unsettling encounters with our own non-humanness and the many worlds we all inhabit, especially those we cannot always immediately…

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