Trevor Paglen, Colombia-Florida Subsea Fiber (CFX-1), NSA/GCHQ-Tapped Undersea Cable, Caribbean Sea, 2015 (detail)

Diving as Method

Panel Discussion

Saturday, June 11, 2022, 4:00 pm

In conjunction with A Thousand Secrets

Mae A. Miller, curator of A Thousand Secrets, will facilitate a conversation with researchers Justin Dunnavant and Melody Jue, to reflect upon the practices and possibilities of deep sea diving as a method of critical aesthetic and historical inquiry.

This panel will include maritime archaeologist Justin Dunnavant and media theorist Melody Jue in conversation on questions of diving as an artistic and historical method. Working across examples of deep sea fiber optic cables, sunken slave ships, underwaters, and art installations on the ocean floor, panelists will discuss the politics, possibilities and challenges of underwater analysis? How do practices of looking and listening under and through water challenge dominant narratives of the past, present, and future?

Dr. Justin Dunnavant is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at UCLA. His current research investigates the relationship between ecology and enslavement in the former Danish West Indies. In addition to his archaeological research, Justin is co-founder of the Society of Black Archaeologists and an AAUS Scientific SCUBA Diver. In 2021, he was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer and inducted into The Explorers Club as one of “Fifty People Changing the World that You Need to Know About.” His research has been featured on Netflix, Hulu, and in print in American Archaeology, Science Magazine, and National Geographic Magazine.

Melody Jue is an associate professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara, working across the fields of ocean humanities, science fiction, science studies, and media theory. She is the author of Wild Blue Media: Thinking Through Seawater (Duke University Press, 2020), which won the 2020 Speculative Fictions and Cultures of Science book award, and co-editor with Rafico Ruiz of Saturation: An Elemental Politics (Duke Press, 2021). Professor Jue has published articles in journals including Grey Room, Configurations, Women’s Studies Quarterly, Resilience, and Media+Environment. Her new work explores the mediations of seaweeds in trans-Pacific contexts.