Critics’ Picks

View of “Radio Brown Atlantis.”

View of “Radio Brown Atlantis.”


Ayesha Hameed

Bonniers Konsthall
Torsgatan 19
August 31–October 30, 2022

“Radio Brown Atlantis” is an exhibition built around a radio program organized by London-based artist Ayesha Hameed and recorded across several continents between 2020 and 2022. The installation places the viewer at the bottom of the Indian Ocean, among the scattered detritus of human passage along historical trade routes. A band of gold has been painted along one wall, across the ceiling, then down the wall opposite. It functions like an entryway to an unmappable space, a space shared by the communities that have traveled or been transported across this water.

The singular, ungraspable quality of the installation echoes Hameed’s intention to translate a radio program into an immersive exhibition while leaving the impossibility of this endeavor intact. Drawings, piles of sand, facsimiles of historical documents related to overseas trade, and other such objects are displayed as if they had come to settle in place after a long descent through miles of water. It gives the visitor the sense of involuntarily drifting away from these elements and then having to paddle back to them through the semidarkness, guided by the thick sonic frequency of the eight-point sound installation, which transmits an edited version of the many hours of conversation between Hameed and her interlocutors (Manuela Moscoso, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, and Pablo José Ramirez, among others).

The Brown Atlantis archive, available on an external platform hosted by Movement Radio, is the real content. There, Ananya Jahanara Kabir speaks about Créolité and Shivanee Ramlochan and Hameed discuss the visceral cost of heteronormativity. In the spirit of Documenta 15, the exhibition of Brown Atlantis acts an antechamber for the longer and more complex feat of witnessing evident in the broader project.