All through the extended history of Earth, the coastline has been a zone of unrest, where waves and tides have forged life and land on this planet. Oceanic algae, once terraforming the Earth into a breathable planet, still produce most of our oxygen. Today, beaches and oceans are haunted by plastic waste, eutrophication and diminishing biological diversity. Kelp forests and mussel beds (and all the other species that depend on them) are receding with the warming waters of climate change. Yet, as also remarked by late marine biologist Rachel Carson, the edge of the sea remains a strange and beautiful place. We think it is a sanctuary for co-creation and worldly re-imaginings.
In the autumn of 2021, The Seaside Arts and Low-Trophic Imaginaries: A State of the Art Network Mid-term Event took place on Ornö in Stockholm Archipelago. It was organised by The Posthumanities Hub and The Eco- and Bioart Lab, and it welcomed artistic and scientific entanglements with the environmental humanities to the seaside. This workshop brought together environmental engineers (like bladder wrack), sea garden activists, artists, feminist blue humanities scholars, marine biologists and those with local know-how for a situated encounter by the edge of the sea. Fantastic speakers: Stacy Alaimo, Anne-Marie Melster, Andy Best, Merja Puustinen, Caroline Elgh Klingborg, Jesse D. Peterson, Janna Holmstedt, Malin Lobell, Cecilia Wibjörn, Maria Bodin, and Lena Kautsky shared their knowledge and experience with us. The aim of the event was to re-tool our oceanic imaginary with insights and creative suggestions for how humans can be a more caring and attentive ecological force for multispecies futures by the edge of the Baltic Sea.
The event was generously supported by the Nordic Culture Point, Nordic Culture Fund, A. P. Møller Foundation, The Seed Box and Åke Wiberg Foundation.
The short documentary Seaside Arts and Low-trophic Imaginaries, produced by film-maker Karin Wegsjö and presented at The Community Garden, serves as an appetiser and a snapshot of thought-provoking and inspiring conversations from the unforgettable days on Ornö. In order to learn more about the event and listen to the full-length talks, please, visit the event page and our YouTube channel (Seaside Arts playlist).
The Seaside Arts and Low-trophic Imaginaries event was also followed-up by an ‘epilogue’ virtual workshop: End of the Sea? Art and Science for Multispecies Futures, which took place in December 2021, and the recording of which can be found on our YouTube channel.