The Sea Awaits Your Return

The Sea Awaits Your Return (2011-2013) presents a thorough investigation of recent Eurocentric history. The project bears a title that refers to a quote from the blockbuster film Pirates of the Caribbean (2003). The particular mix of ancient mythological figures in this film, the reference to the story of the ‘Flying Dutchman’(a mythological ghost ship doomed to sail the oceans eternally), and the framing of all this within the hallucinating extravaganza of Disney production, adequately marks Nabuurs & Van Doorn’s terrain.

The Sea Awaits Your Return, interview


As part of their investigation Nabuurs and Van Doorn introduced themselves to Jeffry M Pondaag, who started the Dutch Honor Debts Committee in order to sue the Dutch state for war crimes committed during the ‘Police Mission’ in 1947. Nabuurs & Van Doorn followed Jeffry M Pondaag during the year leading up to the lawsuit and joining him at meetings. During this time Nabuurs and Van Doorn identified eight patriarchal personalities who represented pieces of the decolonial puzzle.

The Sea Awaits Your Return, interventions

In October 2011 Nabuurs & Van Doorn performed a couple of minimal interventions in Jakarta, Indonesia, in order to break their Eurocentric mindset. These interventions involved the failure to re-functionalize migrated objects (souvenirs from Holland) at specific locations strongly intertwined in Jakarta’s post-colonial landscape.

The Sea Awaits Your Return, Disco Mori's

The Dutch Golden Age and colonialism go hand in hand with the rise of Memento Mori paintings, a Latin phrase translating as “remember death”. Popular in the 17th Century, these paintings depict objects intended to act as symbols of mortality, often including skulls, clocks or hourglasses, fruit and flowers. When confronted with the decolonialisation of history Nabuurs and Van Doorn decide to return to this genre. They start by categorizing objects used in Memento Mori, and then transcribing them into contemporary equivalents which they then fuse with their research topic.

The Sea Awaits Your Return, Personality test

Growing up Nabuurs and Van Doorn loved doing the personality quizzes in popular magazines. As an experiment they collected these quizzes and reconfigured them from being text based to object based. In their collection of “Disco” objects they searched for replacements of the original answers in language. This way creating a psychological belief system with which they wanted to change the way their audience looks at colonial history.

The Sea Awaits Your Return, Video Portraits


Nabuurs and Van Doorn made a series of eight videos showing eight fictional portraits of the patriarchal personalities they identified during their research on Jeffry M Pondaag. The artists combined each personality with the eight subcultures identified in Disco Mori which resulted in eight portraits; Artsy Industrialist, Emo Activist, Gang Terrorist, Glam Politician, Gothic Fortune Teller, Hip Hop Sergeant, Indie Judge, and Punk Pirate. The patriarchal personalities can be grouped into four contrasting duos; fortune teller versus judge, pirate versus industrialist, terrorist versus sergeant, and activist versus politician.

The Sea Awaits Your Return, Luciferia

The objects collected to create the Disco Mori series and the costume and props collected to create the Patriarchal Portraits series were exhibited as part of Luciferia (2014). The word Luciferium relates to aquarium, but instead of water these containers were filled with light. Since 2014 Nabuurs and Van Doorn have carried their collection of objects to every studio they worked at over six years, searching for ways to turn the collection into new work. In these six years the collection grew as new objects intended to create work from were introduced to the existing collection.

© 2020 Copyright | Erwin van Doorn & Inge Nabuurs | All Rights Reserved

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