The HCAS Salon: The Subaquatic Worlds of the Black Atlantis – a Screening and Conversation

The HCAS Salon on 1.4.2022 presents a screening of an audio-visual essay by artist and scholar Ayesha Hameed (HCAS) and a conversation between Hameed and maritime archaeologist Veronica Walker Vadillo (University of Helsinki, HCAS alumna) focusing on the ocean in the human imaginary and the engendering of water worlds.

The Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (HCAS) welcomes the public to the HCAS Salon – a series of conversations that explore the collaboration between scholarly and artistic work. The events are hosted by HCAS fellows, alumni, and their guests, and they offer engaging thoughts, lively conversation, and creative performances.


The HCAS Salon: The Subaquatic Worlds of the Black Atlantis – a Screening and Conversation

Where: Friday, April 1 at 5 pm in the Common Room of HCAS (Fabianinkatu 24 A, 3rd floor)
Speakers: Ayesha Hameed & Veronica Walker Vadillo
Facebook event:

Ayesha Hameed’s Black Atlantis is a live audio-visual essay that looks at possible afterlives of the Black Atlantic: in contemporary illegalized migration at sea, in oceanic environments, through Afrofuturistic dancefloors and soundsystems, and in outer space.

Black Atlantis combines two conversations – afrofuturism and the anthropocene. It takes as point of departure Drexciya, the late 20th century electronic music duo from Detroit, and their creation of a sonic, fictional world. Through liner notes and track titles, Drexciya take the Black Atlantic below the water with their imaginary of an Atlantis comprised of former slaves who have adapted to living underwater. This wetness brings to the table a sense of the haptic, the sensory, the bodily, and the epidermal. What below-the-water, and Atlantis brings back is the bottom of the sea, the volume of the water, the materiality of the space of the ocean, and other protagonists that inhabit the sea.

This third instalment of Black Atlantis, ‘The End of Eating Everything’, is the documentation of a performance. It takes its title from a work by Wangechi Mutu which shows a monstrous form of consumption underwater. ‘The End of Eating Everything’ considers what Drexciyans might consume underwater, what things are consuming each other around them and what boundaries might be eroded between the what’s and the who’s of what is being eaten.

The screening will be followed by a conversation between Ayesha Hameed and Veronica Walker Vadillo. The audience will have the chance to participate in the Q & A.


Speaker Bios:

Ayesha Hameed (London, UK; Kone Foundation Research Fellow in the Arts at HCAS) explores the legacies of indentureship and slavery through the figures of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Her Afrofuturist approach combines performance, sound essays, videos, and lectures. Hameed examines the mnemonic power of these media – their capacity to transform the body into a body that remembers. The motifs of water, borders, and displacement, recurrent in her work, offer a reflection on migration stories and materialities, and, more broadly, on the relations between human beings and what they imagine as nature. Recent exhibitions include Liverpool Biennale (2021), Gothenburg Biennale (2019, 21), Lubumbashi Biennale (2019) and Dakar Biennale (2018). She is co-editor of Futures and Fictions (Repeater 2017) and co-author of Visual Cultures as Time Travel (Sternberg/MIT 2021). She is currently a Senior Lecturer in Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths University of London.


Veronica Walker Vadillo (Helsinki, Finland; Area of Archaeology, University of Helsinki and HCAS alumna) is the PI of “The ports and harbours of Southeast Asia: human-environment entanglements in the early modern period”, a Three-Year Research Grant project funded by the University of Helsinki. She holds a BA+MA in Spanish and European History (2005, Universidad de Alcala), an MA in Maritime Archaeology (2008, UCL, UK), and a DPhil in archaeology (2017, Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology, University of Oxford, UK), after which she earned a position at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (2018-2020). Since completing her MA, Walker Vadillo’s work has been devoted to Southeast Asia, looking specifically at the role of waterways in the development of the Angkor Empire. She is currently finalizing the work she did at the Collegium, which centres on human-environment interactions in the Mekong River, especially in regards to fish migration patterns, fishing economies, and the rise of social complexity in the first millennia CE. The Ports and Harbours of Southeast Asia is a progression of her work on waterborne networks and the social processes involved in establishing these pathways.


The event is free and open to the public. Welcome!


Event image: Ayesha Hameed; graphic design by Hanna Sario



HCAS Research Coordinator Kaisa Kaakinen, kaisa.kaakinen[AT]