Liquid Traces: Investigating the Deaths of Migrants at the EU’s Maritime Frontier
Charles Heller and Lorenzo Pezzani, Research Fellows, Center for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths, University of London
Because any trace on water seems to be immediately dissolved by currents, the seas have long been associated with a permanent present, that resists any writing of history. The infinite liquid expanse has equally represented a challenge for governance leading to consider the seas as a space of absolute freedom and flow – the “free seas”. In this presentation, we will challenge both these understandings. Through the screening of the video Liquid Traces, which offers a reconstruction of the “left-to-die boat” case in which 72 passengers were left to drift during 14 days in the Mediterranean, we will demonstrate how, by using the Mediterranean’s remote sensing apparatus against the grain, we were able to reconstruct history at sea. But because the deaths’ of migrants do not only occur at but through the sea, we will also chart the way the government of oceans and of human movement across them have emerged in tandem, turning the sea into a deadly liquid.
Charles Heller and Lorenzo Pezzani are Research Fellows at the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths, University of London. They have launched the Forensic Oceanography research project and contributed to found the WatchTheMed online mapping platform