Surface Tension

ICA Central

Friday, March 25, 2022 -
Sunday, June 26, 2022


Surface Tension is an immersive multimedia exhibition that explores our relationship with ocean environments through its consumption, degradation, and beauty. Artists from around the world tell a story of their vision of our oceans through unique video presentations. The title, a reference to a property of water that allows it to resist an external force, reflects the ocean’s ability to act as both a support system for humans as well as a form of powerful opposition.

As the largest mass on our planet and the source of life, oceans control the weather and provide food and products for humanity. However, it also acts as a receptacle for the disposal of plastics, oil, and sewage. For millennia, the ocean has been a connective tissue between cultures while also facilitating their destruction through mass colonization. The artists of Surface Tension evaluate these layered dimensions of our historic links with the ocean.

Divided into two sections, the exhibition presents six artists who explore both our connection to and resistance to oceans. Artists bring their unique cultural identity to envision the ocean from a global perspective rather than one that functions within a local ecosystem.

Together, all of the artists in Surface Tension explore the multi-species experience with ocean ecosystems, adopting historical and present-day tragedies while leading us down a path of contemplation and reevaluation. Where do we go from here? How can we atone for hundreds of years of ocean plundering? This exhibition has no answers – it is you, the viewer, who must make your own decisions on how you will consider your future relationship with the ocean.

This exhibition will feature work from Marina Zurkow (B. 1962, US), Charles Atlas (B. 1949, US), Ulu Braun (B. 1976, Germany), Pinar Yoldas (B.1979, Turkey), Caroline Monnet (B. 1985, Canada), Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley (B. 1995, UK) and, Sue Austin (B. London, 1965).


Image Credits
Ulu Braun, Westcoast video still, 2010 / Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley, Examining the Sea, 2021 / Charles Atlas, The Waning of Justice, 2015 / Caroline Monnet, Like Ships in the Night, 2018 / Marina Zurkow, Boil the Ocean, 2021