harbour, Anja Isabel Schneider

narrator Anja Isabel Schneider
term harbour
affiliated institution M HKA

The sea in its conjuncture with the land is the prerequisite to the harbour. As sites of global capital—for seemingly endless expansion—harbours are spaces that are intrinsically unstable through constant circulation flows and transformation in history. The referential field of geopolitics, instigated by the curators-narrators of the glossary for common knowledge, has so far placed its focus on a series of terms related to the terrestrial. Harbours open up this (primarily land-based) thinking and let us understand space is larger. It thus seems vital to our referential field and discussion to consider and connect to those ‘outer’ spaces that have long been seized by geopolitics, such as the world’s oceans.


Today, harbours are increasingly difficult to read, not least to enter. We will be approaching the harbour—a space of friction—to reflect on its former function as a space of encounter.


In which ways does the contemporary harbour still reflect the relationality (both hospitable to what came from outside and to what was a base of departure) of the past? 


How may this serve our geopolitical understanding?

We will be looking at examples of artistic intervention. How to sustain the potential of the micro-social and micro-political, as addressed by Allan Sekula (1951-2013), in today’s mega-ports? How do artists, like Sekula, engage with Antwerp’s harbor in its links to other harbors in the world? See Van Gelder, Hilde (ed.), Allan Sekula. Ship of Fools / The Dockers’ Museum (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2015). See also http://allansekula.ensembles.org, the digital platform of the research project Art Against the Grain of “Collective Sisyphus”: The Case of Allan Sekula’s Ship of Fools / The Dockers’ Museum (2010-13), jointly developed by KU Leuven (Lieven Gevaert Research Centre for Photography, Art and Visual Culture) and M HKA.


See De Baere, Bart, and Anja Isabel Schneider, “Revisiting, Reflecting, Recalling. Activism as Collective Intelligence,” Carles Guerra, Anja Isabel Schneider and Hilde Van Gelder (eds), Allan Sekula. Collective Sisyphus (Barcelona: Fundació Antoni Tàpies, 2019), 32. [forthcoming]