Ground Sea. Photography and the Right to Be Reborn

Hilde Van Gelder
Lieven Gevaert Series
Volume 30
2021

TWO-VOLUME SET

Viewing the Strait of Dover through the lens of photography theory
Imagine a world in which each individual has a fundamental right to be reborn. This idle dream haunts Hilde Van Gelder’s associative travelogue that takes Allan Sekula’s sequence Deep Six / Passer au bleu (1996/1998) as a touchstone for a dialogue with more recent artworks zooming in on the borderscape near the Channel Tunnel, such as those by Sylvain George and Bruno Serralongue.

Combining ethnography, visual materials, political philosophy, cultural geography, and critical analysis, Ground Sea proceeds through an innovative methodological approach. Inspired by the meandering writings of W.G. Sebald, Javier Marías, and Roland Barthes, Van Gelder develops a style both interdisciplinary and personal.

Resolutely opting for an aquatic perspective, Ground Sea offers a powerful meditation on the indifference of an increasingly divided European Union with regard to considerable numbers of persons on the move, who find themselves stranded close to Calais. The contested Strait of Dover becomes a microcosm where our present global challenges of migration, climate change, human rights, and neoliberal surveillance technology converge.

This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).

Publication: September 15, 2021

Hilde Van Gelder is professor of contemporary art history at KU Leuven. She is director of the Lieven Gevaert Research Centre for Photography, Art and Visual Culture.

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

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
Belgique