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Take To The Sea
Selected works   2009 - 2015

Lina Attallah 
Nida Ghouse
Laura Cugusi



The answer is that we all depend heavily on wires,

but we hardly ever think about them.

Not A Dead End, Jogjia Biennale Equator #2

Yogyakarta, Indonesia

19 November 2013 – 6 January 2014

Two channel video installation with sound, 30 seconds looping, 2 digital C-prints

Original telegram sent from Egypt to Indonesia.

Telegram text:
“This message spent approximately 6450 nautical miles underwater.”


Video 1: morse code line and dot animation of the text

Video 2: underwater cable line itinerary connecting the MENA and Asia Pacific internet infrastructure.


A Roomful of Lost Memory

Nile Sunset Annex

Cairo, Egypt

1 September – 19 October 2013

Nile Sunset Annex presents the first solo show by Take to the Sea. A Roomful of Lost Memory consists of a single sculptural installation. An attempt to quantify or measure the matter of time. The possibility of retrieving a history that belongs to no one – as heavy as metal, as detailed as dirt.

An especially commissioned publication was released in November 2013.


I Swear I Saw This

What Are You Doing, Drawing? 

Nile Sunset Annex, Cairo, Egypt

23 February – 23 March 2013

What does it take to become a drawing? What does it take to make a drawing? What can a drawing be? These are the questions raised by the Nile Sunset Annex curators. In an attempt to respond, I Swear I Saw This evokes notions of erasure that emerge from the elusive space between seeing and believing. Responding to a show where drawing as a form is called on, Take to the Sea experiments with the performativity of the act of drawing, but also that of its disappearance.


Fragments of a Suspended Practice

Hydrarchy, Contemporary Image Collective

Cairo, Egypt

9 December 2011 – 6 January 2012

Dominant discourses refer to the sea as either a sensational space – with extraordinary phenomena and situations not found on land – or an apparently blank one – an empty landscape hosting only a handful of historical battles or the long lonely routes of shipping vessels. Through two exhibitions and symposia in London and Cairo, Hydrarchy explored the shift of geopolitical discourse and border relations from a landbound to a seaborne perspective. In this work, we go through our desire to locate the stories of young men who cross the Mediterranean in pursuit of a perceived better fate came from our bedazzlement with the risk incurred.


While we were fixated on the notion of risk for sometime, we were newly directed to the notion of the “unknown”. These notions appear to belong to two different logics. “Risk” is easily enshrined in an urban logic defined by the limits of modernity. Meanwhile, the “unknown” remains pristine, unscratched, perhaps more benign and certainly undisciplined. From across the sea, only an imagined world is seen, but when at floating on open water, very little is foreseen. We departed with a broad urge to light these obscure maritime pathways. 


Not Yet Anywhere

Manifesta 8, Murcia, Spain

9 October 2010 - 9 January 2011

Building on a lecture-of-letters first presented at Manifesta Coffee Break, Take to the Sea expands a small exhibition room in a former abandoned post office into a performative space for speech acts. Here, across induced dislocations of distance and time, in this multi channel (and multi-lingual) sound and video installation, the speaker and the listener may not be together, but they are not alone.


Inscribed with instances when the sea becomes a wall, a waiting room, a passage to a prison cell, this project works through that which might emerge from the vicinity of silence, to suggest an image for the invisible drawn out of voice. Absence settles in the crevices between what is said and what is heard, and sound, despite its complicity with language, urges an affect that extends beyond the violent affirmation of words.


A MacGuffin for Art


Exhibition Catalogue

Murcia, Spain 2010

Take to the Sea contribution to Glossary of Unknowns: A MacGuffin for Art, the Alexandria Contemporary Art Forum catalogue-project for Manifesta 8, edited by Nav Haq.


Tapes to the Sea

Manifesta Coffee Breaks

Lecture of Letters

Murcia, Spain


In December 2009, Take to the Sea was invited to Manifesta Coffee Breaks as part of Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum’s “The Aesthetic Compass: Human Geography and its Reverberations in Art”, and presented a lecture of letters called Tapes to the Sea, which constituted a series of letters, some pre-recorded and others read out, some actual, most made up, some from the future, and some to the dead. We think of the space of a letter as a performative space for speech acts where selves are put forth on display.

Through these letters, we sound out, alongside the embeddedness of our own personalities/cartographies, how our imaginations might sidestep what Ian Chambers calls the “preventive power structure” that “seeks to direct and discipline the memory that you have not yet had”.

© Laura Cugusi 2023

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