OKEANOS includes a series of essays from scholars, historians, and thinkers, interspersed with a selection from Allan Sekula’s immense oeuvre of seminal texts, as well as parts of his private notebooks, which include critical and humorous personal notes, as well as sketches made and written across the decades and mostly focusing on the maritime space and the material, economic, and ecologic implications of globalization. The title OKEANOS is a reference to the mythical figure of Okeanos—son of Gaia, the Greek goddess of the earth—who ruled over the oceans and water.
In projects like his magnum opus Fish Story, or films like Lottery of The Sea and The Forgotten Space, Sekula too provided a view from and of the sea, as seen both from the eyes of the maritime laborer and seafarer, and of the sea itself. This publication expands on these oceanic themes seeking to honor the scope and complexity of Sekula’s work and to situate some of his ideas in the context of current political, social, and environmental discourses.
OKEANOS is divided into several thematic chapters including “Containerization,” focusing on the sea as a site of infrastructural complication; a revisit of Sekula’s Black Tide / Marea negra (2002–03), a work that explores environmental violence, contamination, and their social implications; a selection from Sekula’s personal notebook drawings and an accompanying essay by photo historian Sally Stein; as well as essays on Sekula’s legacy re-addressed in the age of the anthropocene; and a number of case studies by contemporary artists, writers, and thinkers who examine ideas that overlap with Sekula’s or expand on his interests.