With an understated touch of science fiction, Subatlantic juxtaposes the science of geology and climatology with human history. The video unfolds across the Subatlantic, the latest climatic phase of the Holocene that began about 2,500 years ago and has registered major civilizational changes. The voiceover alludes to a she-scientist who is making instrumental observations about a changing environment around the last glacial melts. From an increasingly submerged place of oceanic observation, her objects of examination are as much the physical world and the atmosphere that is engulfing her as the thoughts that are formed, reconfigured or released under the changing conditions. Subatlantic also refers to the submerged space of the Atlantic Ocean. Set in the Shetland Islands, Greenland’s Disco Bay and a tiny Caribbean Island, the video implicates far apart locations that are connected through ocean streams, addressing submerged dynamics that are non-localized and invisible to our eye.

In this short essay, global warming is explored through Manuel De Landa’s “Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy” and Timothy Morton’s “Hyperobject.”


"The Anthropocene can be seen as an update on Manifest Destiny, but artists' critical perspectives, taken out of social context or poetically romanticized, can sometimes be interpreted as celebratory. This is not the case in Ursula Biemann's Subatlantic (2015), a concise and dramatic fictional narration of an anonymous female scientist's experience above and beneath the surface. Like the sea itself, a sense of continual movement pervaces bot the beautiful images and Biemann's crystal clear analysis of the future Atlantic."
      Lucy R. Lippard  (At Sea: Circulation, Containment, Complicity)


Text on Subatlantic published in L'International online:

Late Subatlantic - Science Poetry in Times of Global Warming


A review of The Ocean After Nature at the Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art in Adelaide was written by Sasha Grbich, published on artlink 

..."That aside, taking an eco-feminist position in her curatorial essay for Ocean After Nature, Feldman asserts that “Many of our current problems were developed by capitalist patriarchy built on the foundation of governing women, others and nature”.[3] Appropriate then is her inclusion of Subatlantic by Swiss video essayist Ursula Biemann, who presents a potential future in human–ocean interactions. Biemann’s envisioned world is structured around the story of a female scientist who undertakes close observational research at the edge of a sea. Delicate footage (devoid of humans) witnesses watery communities. On- screen statements tend towards the educational, informing us that “intense co-habitation can only unhinge new thought processes”. The work provides a post-human approach to the oceanic sublime, situating the immense mystery of the ocean in the minutiae of its lively and constantly shifting connections. Biemann creates an optimistic future where humans no longer dominate environments and have evolved ways of living in close attunement with the world."