One-Fifth of the Earth’s Surface \\ Hakeem Adam and Maxwell Mutanda


One-Fifth of the Earth’s Surface is a conversation between artists Hakeem Adam, Maxwell Mutanda and the Atlantic Ocean. Presented as an interactive audio-visual landscape, the project is an explorative online experience that unearths the power of water as a dynamic and fluid archive.

The project offers multiple readings of the unpredictable transatlantic waters as an evolving structure that initiates change on its surrounding lands, rerouting power and reshaping the lives of all who depend on it. 

The research involves investigations and experiments into the design of various systems and infrastructure, such as canals and dams, transcontinental submarine data cable maps, and much more. One-Fifth of the Earth’s Surface explores how these tools and materials have been used for dredging up and rearranging our histories, lives and power.

Featuring landscapes created from data and the artists’ knowledge from their own unique relations to water, this web-based artwork is an open dialogue, wherein the viewer is privy to the conversation between the pair. The website serves as an experimental route for users to read various digital drawings, each offering and responding to a specific theme connected to the Atlantic Ocean, a body of water covering one-fifth of the Earth’s surface.

One-Fifth of the Earth’s Surface by Hakeem Adam and Maxwell Mutanda is commissioned and produced by Abandon Normal Devices and York Mediale. Supported using public funding by Arts Council England and British Council.  

One-Fifth of the Earth’s Surface contains digitised maps and sound recordings from the collections of the British Library.

One-Fifth of the Earth’s Surface was selected in a closed call from ColabNowNow 2017-2019 alumni.

Image Credit: Heinrich Berann for National Geographic Creative

Event info:

  • Thu 27th May 2021 — Sun 31st Mar 2024
  • Online

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