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Digital initiative

Messy Studio: The “burning” of the Black Mediterranean


Live streamed

On Ocean Archive and on Ocean Space and TBA21–Academy Facebook pages

Messy Studios are peer-to-peer gatherings conceived by Territorial Agency mobilizing critical thinking and research along the interconnected narratives and ecopolitical trajectories of “Oceans in Transformation. Messy Studios engage scientists, artists, governmental and civil society groups, policy makers and conservationists to come together with the aim to forge new pathways for action and new imaginaries for the ocean.

This virtual studio casts a wide net of voices to open the discussion on the vast scholarship on and artistic articulation of the “Black Mediterranean.” Artists Invernomuto, filmmaker Yusuf Haibeh Said, and the scholars Monika Halkort and Alessandra Di Maio will join Territorial Agency and TBA21–Academy’s Ocean Fellows and Mentors to delve into the entangled issues of mobility, extraction, datafication, and the creative-intellectual projects of reimagination written into the black Mediterranean’s deep trajectories.


6-8 pm CET Messy Studio: The "burning" of the Black Mediterranean

Live discussion with Invernomuto, Alessandra Di Maio, Monika Halkort, Yusuf Haibeh Said, Territorial Agency, Markus Reymann, Daniela Zyman, and the participants of the Ocean Fellowship Program.

The event will be live-streamed on Ocean-Archive.org and TBA21–Academy and Ocean Space Facebook pages.

Alessandra di Maio

Alessandra Di Maio is a professor of English, African Literature, and Postcolonial Studies at theUniversity of Palermo, Italy. She divides her time between Italy and the US, where she taught at severalacademic institutions (UCLA, CUNY Brooklyn College, Columbia, Smith College). Her area ofspecialization includes black, diasporic, migratory, and gender studies, with a particular attention to theformation of transnational cultural identities. In the past years, she has worked extensively on herformulation of the Black Mediterranean. She has been the recipient of a Fulbright scholarship, a Mellonpostdoctoral fellowship, and a MacArthur Research and Writing Grant. Among her publications arenumerous articles and the volumes Tutuola at the University. The Italian Voice of a YorubaAncestor (2000), the collection An African Renaissance (2006), Wor(l)ds in Progress. A Study ofContemporary Migrant Writings (2008), and Dedica a Wole Soyinka (ed. 2012). She has translated intoItalian several authors from Africa and the Diaspora, including Nigerian Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka,whose autobiography Sul far del giorno (2016) she has edited in a special Italian edition, and with whomshe has conceived the poetry/photo anthology Migrazioni/Migrations. An Afro-Italian Night of thePoets(2016). Her book Letteratura nigeriana in lingua inglese (Le Lettere) is forthcoming.


Simone Bertuzzi and Simone Trabucchi have been collaborating as Invernomuto since 2003. Although their work focuses primarily on the moving image and sound, they also integrate sculpture, performance and publishing into their practice. Invernomuto explores what remain of subcultures by moving through different media. The project Black Med was conceived in 2018 for Manifesta 12 (Palermo) and has recently been part of the performance programme at the 58th Venice Biennale in 2019. Invernomuto presented their work in solo shows at Galleria Nazionale, Rome (2019), NN Contemporary Art, Northampton (2019), Pinksummer, Genoa (2019), Leto Gallery, Warsaw (2019), Artspeak, Vancouver (2015), Triennale di Milano, Milan (2014), among others. In 2017 Invernomuto wins the Museion Prize 1 (Bozen); in 2018 they are finalists of the MAXXI Bvlgari Prize (Rome) and MAC International 2018 (Belfast). Their work has been shown, among others, at TATE (London), Manifesta 12 (Palermo), Villa Medici (Rome), Alserkal Avenue (Dubai), Kunsthalle Wien (Vienna), Galleria Nazionale (Rome), Nuit Blanche 2017 (Paris), MAXXI (Rome), Museion (Bozen), Unsound Festival (Krakow), Kunstverein München (Munich), Bozar (Brussels), FAR° (Nyon), Centre d’Art Contemporain (Geneva), Bétonsalon (Paris), Live Arts Week V (Bologna), Istituto Italiano di Cultura (Addis Abeba), Fondation Ricard (Paris), Black Star Film Festival (Philadelphia), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo (Turin), Hangar Bicocca (Milan), Premio Furla (Bologna), No Fun Fest 2009 (New York), Biennale Architettura 11 (Venice). https://blackmed.invernomuto.info

Yusuf Haibeh Said

Yusuf Haibeh Said is a filmmaker of a migrant background, originally from Somalia he lives and works in Vienna. In 2016 he collaborated with TBA21 and artist Olafur Eliasson in the context of the Green light workshop. Yusuf Haibeh Said has a personal approach to storytelling and filmmaking that draws from tales similar to those of a hundred thousands of migrants who flee Africa and come to Europe across the Mediterranean. With the aim of bringing awareness and bearing witness of these experiences and voices, he recently has been working on a film, developed with non-professional actors and minimal means of production, that follows the trajectory of a long exodus of three Somali kids who flee their country to reach Europe with the hope of a better life.

Monika Halkort

Monika Halkort’s research explores the intersectional dynamics of racialization, dispossession, and enclosure inhered in digital infrastructures focusing in particular on contexts of political struggle, activism, and humanitarian governance. Key themes include the coloniality and biopolitics of data power, and how they affect claims for political autonomy and self-determination of stateless populations and refugees. The main geographic focus of her work is the Arab world. Prior to her academic career Halkort has worked as a broadcast journalist in Austria, Germany, and the USA, producing award-winning radio and television documentaries for public and private networks. Since the late 1990s, her media work has included web broadcasting, multi-screen video installations, and database-driven narratives.