Inasmuch as human beings seek answers for the unsolved questions of their lives deep within themselves, where only water can hold them, the Ocean depths hold all the misplaced and unresolved aspects of our civilisation’s colonial past atrocities. Going deep is a speculative action — both literally and metaphorically. Through his artistic research and practice, da Cruz shows us how depth and water are so intrinsically, biologically, historically, and economically connected within our body, the ocean that separates and connects our different geographies, and the financial capitalistic interest represented by that underwater mining.

Diogo da Cruz investigates this decentralised memory, lying deep in the waters that make up the oceans and our human bodies, inverting our vertical perspective — from the top to the bottom. Drifting, he explores new ways of thinking about life across physical, chronological, and geographical boundaries. By daring to imagine new connections between water and depth, he reflects on and suggests new forms of caring for the waters in our bodies and in the oceans, picturing them as vast mnemonic devices that remember who we were, who we are, and who we will be, both as individuals and as a community.

Irene Campolmi

The exhibition at Forum Arte Braga features objects developed during the month of June 2021 at the UmbigoLAB @ ArtWorks residence, in Póvoa de Varzim. The video work “Hydrophilic Bounds” is the result of a collaboration with Fallon Mayanja, starring Florine Zegers and Lea Vajda.

photos by Adriano Ferreira Borges


Hydrophilic bounds

An unknown underwater civilisation is limiting the quantity of oxygen produced by the sea, killing over 300 million people after four years of the Deep Sea War. Dr Nadia Eckel, a marine biologist adviser to the mining company IHC, has previously confessed that she accepted a bribe to publish a scientific report, crucial to the approval of the first major extraction project. As the suspect’s confession is not sufficient for proceeding with the case, with no other clues to the bribery, inspector Diana Redstone has been looking for further proves of involvement. While the interrogation unfolds Aidan is waiting to deliver a speech at a global summit, which has been organised to halt the conflict.

Through sound waves and abstract images, one is invited to dwell upon the ubiquity of water: as a place where life is originated and as a vessel of memory, witness to the colonial crimes committed by European countries.

loop 4K video, colour and sound 32 min
in collaboration with Fallon Mayanja, starring Florine Zegers and Lea Vajda
colour correction by Afonso Mota

including footage from:
-Lost City 2018 Expedition, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution -
-Visualizing Deep-sea Mining, 2019 video from MIT Mechanical Engineering
-NEPTUNE Maintenance, September 2020 Ocean Networks Canada - SeaTube Pro

video excerpt