Streamlines – Metaphorical and Geopolitical Interpretations of the Oceans

The exhibition STREAMLINES is a guest curated international programme of contemporary artistic activities at Deichtorhallen wishing to focus on the special geographical location of the city of Hamburg. The project originates from a reflexion on the specific features of the port of Hamburg, for instance the notion of storage, one main function of the harbour, and a study of the history of the harbour buildings, for instance the Afrika Terminal, a former storage warehouse for goods such as cocoa. Such places reminded us that the port city of Hamburg has been over the past several centuries (and is still) the gate to Germany – and by large to Europe – for a variety of African and international goods.

STREAMLINES originates from this situation: it has been thought as an artistic programme including contemporary art works but also film and lecture series in order to expand on the theme of the exhibition. The exhibition will aim to occupy the huge volume of the Deichtorhallen with mainly site-specific works made on this occasion. The different goods that used to pass through the terminals, the political, economical and social history of the harbour will play a role in the conception of these new works.

The exhibition STREAMLINES makes the oceans the metaphorical focal point in order to examine the cultural repercussion of the global stream of goods and trade from the South to the North. More broadly, the exhibition initiates a reflection on how to visualize inequalities through the seas, how oceans are used, how one can understand the status of invisible borders and the notion of property when it comes to the oceans, how one can decipher migratory flows and understand who creates and applies laws for this vast and strange territory. The exhibition also examines the notion of communication: from streams of information (the international submarine telecommunication connections thanks to optical cables) to streams of people and goods.

STREAMLINES is an invitation made to contemporary artists from various areas of the world that have a strong historical mercantile connection to the harbour of Hamburg as a site of disembarkation of shipments coming from those regions. These include Asia, Latin America, Africa, and of course Europe. The range of practices displayed for the STREAMLINES project will bring the public in contact with challenging artistry, critical practices dedicated to constructing and deconstructing consciousness through various media: sculpture, tapestry, installation or socially engaged practices, with a strong focus on artist film and video art.


Kader Attia, Mark Boulos, Peter Buggenhout, Ken Bugul, Godfried Donkor, Theo Eshetu, Joana Hadjithomas, Alfredo Jaar, Khalil Joreige, Bouchra Khalili, Abdoulaye Konaté, Otobong Nkanga, Arin Rungjang, Thomas Rentmeister, Ulrike Ottinger, Wendelien van Oldenborgh.

Enlaces de interés