Artifact #3: Terra Nullius (2019)

TRT: 11:06

Single channel projection into water, metal washtub, mirrored washboard, powder detergent, bed sheet, clothing line.


Artifact #3: Terra Nullius (2019) is the self-referential final peg of a trilogy that visualizes how personhood, family and intimacy are influenced by lineages of trauma and spirituality within diasporic Caribbean identity. This piece closes the Artifacts series, a trilogy exploring how migration and memory affects manifestations of the Anglophone Caribbean family from the pre-Independence period to the present, using my own family history as a point of reference.


Employing scrying and speculative non-fiction to demonstrate agency in crafting models of communication and care within the present, Terra Nullius abandons nostalgic desires for the biological family structure in favour of alternative kinships. Terra Nullius is “used in international law to describe territory that may be acquired by a state’s occupation of it.” Here, the state refers that of being, one that is constantly being renegotiated with the entry/exit of new modalities with which we engage each other and subsequently reconstruct the self.


Images courtesy NLS Kingston and No Longer Empty

The phrase "Make the end you need," is from The Stone Sky by N. K. Jemisin.

Music credits:

Kiss My Feet by Laura Mvula

Remember by Seinabo Sey ft. Jacob Banks

I do not own the rights to any of this music.