“It is no longer we who cross the land,
the border, the sea;
they are the ones who cross us.”
The 2019 Biennale di Venezia offered a special experience: not only was the Luxembourg pavilion assigned its first new location on the Arsenale grounds, but Marco Godinho’s exhibition Written by Water, which was shown there, was an all-the-more impressive research how we move today in a world engaged with current migration issues and its relation with the sea. The sea may have fascinated for centuries, with its endless legends, adventures survived, and voyages of discovery that have further connected mankind. But behind the romantic façade, a complex geopolitical dimension with a far darker chapter has been hidden since the early twenty-first century at the latest. Waves of failed attempts at migration are still occurring today. Written by Water is a geopoetic odyssey that takes the reverse path of today’s migratory routes across the Mediterranean, the cradle of modern society and birthplace of founding narratives that underpin our common heritage. The documentation of the exhibition is accompanied by seven essays, which are just as thought-provoking and a wide range of singular works and recent exhibitions of the last fifteen years.