Symposium: Art at Water’s Edge

Artists, activists, and designers engage the meeting of land with water. Facing climate change and rising sea levels, this event links New York with communities across the nation and globe that sit at water’s edge. This afternoon activation is inspired by acclaimed director Peter Sellars’ call to “listen to the oceans,” and by director and scholar May Joseph’s call for cosmopolitan citizenship in “fluid New York.” From the work of Indigenous water protectors who challenge extractive futures to urban planners responding to waterfront access, Art at Water’s Edge will offer an intergenerational forum for the imagination in action.

Session 1: Opening Sessions: Listening to the Ocean

11:00am–12:00pm: Opening Plenary
Keynote conversation with Peter Sellars

Monochromatic Light (Afterlife) director Peter Sellars delivers an address to the art world on the meaning and urgency of “ecological civilization” in the next generation.

12:00pm–1:00pm: Of Whales, with Wu Tsang
Artist and filmmaker Wu Tsang discusses three recent works—Moby Dick, Of Whales, and Moved by the Motion—that looks to CLR James’s classic text, Mariners, Renegades, and Castaways, among other influences, to envision transfuturity from a whale’s eye view of the cosmos.

1:00pm–6:00pm: Film Screening Room

Session 2: Mid-day Sessions: Water, Ritual, History

2:00pm–3:30pm: Concurrent Sessions

The Sacred and the Profane in the Ruins of History
Poet and artist Pamela Sneed in conversation with artist Kiyan Williams about their recent work engaging sites of loss, memory, and ritual remembrance on the shoals of the Black Atlantic. Moderated by curator Journey Streams.

Knowledge of Wounds
SJ Norman, Joseph Pierce, and devynn emory in conversation regarding their collaborative work centering Indigenous sovereignty and survivance in Lenapehoking and beyond.

Your Eyes Will Be An Empty Word
Coco Fusco in conversation with Adrienne Edwards on Fusco’s recent acclaimed film mourning the unidentified or unclaimed dead buried on Hart Island—New York City’s potter’s field.

underCURRENTS and Blackprints
Dancer and choreographer Nia Love discusses her work in intersectionality, transnationalism, Blackness and the tools of embodied memory in conversation with architect Jerome Haferd, who will discuss how architecture establishes a dialogue with contemporary phenomena, nonhegemonic users, and spaces.

Session 3: Afternoon Sessions: Where Do We Go From Here?

4:00pm–5:15pm: Concurrent Sessions

Metabolism | Photosynthesism
Eco-systems artist Michael Wang in conversation with Global Asia theorist Eng-Beng Lim regarding micro and megastructures of plant ecology on Purple Earth.

Signe Nielsen in conversation with Mitchell Joachim
Landscape architect Signe Nielsen (Little Island) in conversation with Mitchell Joachim (The Monarch Sanctuary) on resilience and adaptation in the built environment.

At the Sea’s Edge
Sociologist Macarena Gómez-Barris in conversation with durational artist and activist Sarah Cameron Sunde on Sunde’s durational performance with the sea.

Atlantic is a Sea of Bones
Artist and activist Tourmaline in conversation with performer Egyptt Labeija, star of Tourmaline’s film Atlantic is a Sea of Bones on linking past, present, and future on the West Side Piers of Manhattan.

5:30pm: Closing Remarks
Author and director May Joseph (Fluid New York, Terra Aqua) shares some her recent work and reflects upon the day’s proceedings. Moderated by Tavia Nyong’o

Sarah Cameron Sunde’s 36.5 / A Durational Performance with the Sea, photo by Jeremy Dennis for

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Buy Tickets

October 9, 2022

Sunday, October 9, 2022
11:00am, 2:00pm, and 4:00pm

Single Session: $25 (plus fees)
Day Pass: $45 (plus fees)

Health and Safety Protocols
Effective September 26, 2022, masks are optional—all guests are encouraged to wear a mask in the Armory to protect themselves and others. To view additional COVID-19 Policies, please visit our FAQs page.

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