One-Fifth of the Earth’s Surface

  • Hakeem Adam, Maxwell Mutanda
  • United Kingdom, Zimbabwe, Ghana
  • 2021
  • Digital
  • International Premiere
  • DocLab: Liminal Reality, IDFA DocLab Competition for Digital Storytelling

This online voyage of discovery takes water as a dynamic source of inspiration. Ghanaian artist Hakeem Adam and Zimbabwean architect Maxwell Mutanda approach transatlantic waters, from the Atlantic Ocean itself to the major rivers that flow into it, such as the Congo and Mississippi, as a constantly moving source of strength. These waters were and still are influential to power structures and many lives, for instance in merchandise trading as well as in human trafficking.

Adam and Mutanda have compiled a collection of audio-visual excerpts from a wide range of archives, which you can browse endlessly: from sugar cane machetes to the opening of the Volta Dam in Ghana. Each excerpt or object brings to light a piece of history. As you navigate the website, you are introduced to a new perspective on archiving, collaboration, and data recording and design—for example, landscapes created using geographic data on canals, dams, and intercontinental data cables beneath the ocean.


  • Spoken languages: English
  • Subtitles in: English
Hakeem Adam, Maxwell Mutanda
Tadeo Lopez-Sendon for Abandon Normal Devices, Yinka Danmole for York Mediale
Executive producer
Luke Moody for Abandon Normal Devices, Tom Higham for York Mediale , Ruth McCullough for Abandon Normal Devices
British Council (South Africa), Arts Council of England
Oscar Cass-Darweish

IDFA history

International Premiere
DocLab: Liminal Reality
IDFA DocLab Competition for Digital Storytelling

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IDFA history

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