Ground Sea. Claiming a Right to Be Reborn



Politecnico di Milano, building 29, ground floor meeting room

The seminar will depart from contemporary art historian and LGC-director Hilde Van Gelder’s book “Ground Sea. Photography and the Right to Be Reborn” (Leuven University Press, 2021), which unfolds a vivid account of repeated trips to Calais and Dover between 2017 and 2020. Using a selection of photographs realized by Bruno Serralongue for his Calais series (2006-) as well as her own photo-fictional field research, Hilde Van Gelder zooms in on the border landscape of the Northern French coast. This so contested maritime zone lends itself to a microcosmic analysis of all our contemporary global challenges: migration, climate change, human rights, and neoliberal surveillance technology. In their terrible convergence they risk crushing us like a villainous, ecocidal wave. But it is also conceivable that a fertile ground wave will eventually grow, generating in its wake a real rebirth. A critical reflection on the indifference of a divided European Union regarding the substantial number of people on the move who find themselves stranded near, or drown in the English Channel. A reflection that allows to imagine a world within which every living entity cherishes a fundamental right to be reborn.

Hilde Van Gelder (KU Leuven)

Anna Casaglia (Università degli Studi di Trento)
Christa-Maria Lerm Hayes (University of Amsterdam)

Nicoletta Grillo (Politecnico di Milano)

To register write to:

Lieven Gevaert Centre
KU Leuven, Faculty of Arts
Blijde Inkomststraat 21 pb 3313
B-3000 Leuven

Lieven Gevaert Centre
UC Louvain, Archéologie et d'histoire d'art
FIAL - Place Blaise Pascal 1 bte L3.03.13
B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve