Join us for a public talk and opening reception for Mare Liberum’s exhibition at the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University, “or, The Other Island.”

Members of the collective Mare Liberum will present an artist talk on their work in relation to participatory explorations of impacted regional waterways. As a companion talk, scholar, artist and activist Max Liboiron will discuss the science of marine plastics and citizen science tools she has developed to make plastics apparent and “charismatic.”

Plastics have been found in every ocean in the world. Over 90% of these plastics are smaller than a grain of rice and are dispersed unevenly throughout the water column, making them difficult to see. Moreover, several recent studies have found that massive amounts of microplastics are somehow missing from the surface of oceans. Perhaps they have sunk, been eaten by animals, or have broken down into fragments so minuscule they are not counted in samples. The difficulties of counting and accounting for ocean plastics has lead to scientific and policy controversies about the severity of the problem and what might be done to mitigate it. Given the difficulties making ocean plastics manifest, scientists and activists are using different techniques to make plastic pollution visible and “charismatic” enough for action.

The talks will be held in Mare Liberum’s installation in the Carpenter Center’s 3rd Floor Sert Gallery and will be followed by an opening reception.

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About the Exhibition at CCVA

A photograph taken in 1950 shows Le Corbusier and his cousin Pierre Jeanneret in a pedal boat in Chandigarh, India. It is a compelling image of the renowned architect and the designer on a visibly makeshift vessel readying to embark across Sukhna Lake. The history of this photograph and boat are uncertain. The scene, however, is endearingly playful, as if Le Corbusier and Jeanneret had just discovered a newfangled plaything—watercraft.

This image is a departure point for Mare Liberum’s exhibition and research residency at the Carpenter Center entitled or, The Other Island. Based in Brooklyn, Mare Liberum (or “The Free Seas”) is a collective that uses exhibitions, workshops, publications, and river voyages to guide inquiries into the environmental conditions and histories of waterways. For this presentation, they organized workshops for building punts—flat-bottom boats with a square bow used to transport cargo. Boatbuilding is the primary point of entry for their work, with past project designs ranging from ocean-crossing rafts, to boats made of paper, to kayaks produced with bamboo and repurposed museum banners.

or, The Other Island considers these scenarios through discussions of local water ecosystems, pollution, and neglect in relation to the City of Boston and its low-lying neighborhoods and waterways.

More info –

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Each day from 10 am to 3 pm during the residency period (Sep 1–11), the public is invited to take part in a participatory boatbuilding session on the Carpenter Center’s terrace.

As the culmination of the residency, a public voyage and field trip down the Mystic River will take place on Sat, Sep 12 (rain date TBD). Interested participants can email for more information or sign up to join us on the water through the following link:

RSVP for the Voyage:

RSVP for daily boatbuilding workshops:
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Mare Liberum is a collective of visual artists, designers, and writers who formed around a shared engagement with New York’s waterways in 2007. As part of a mobile, interdisciplinary, and pedagogical practice, we design and build boats, publish broadsides, essays, and books, invent water-related art and educational forums, and collaborate with diverse institutions, artists, and theorists to produce public talks, participatory works, and voyages as platforms to catalyze social change.

Max Liboiron is an Assistant Professor of culture and technology at the Memorial University of Newfoundland and a co-founding member of the Superstorm Research Lab, a mutual aid research collective.