mobilis in mobili
Drifting with/in planktonic seas
„Multispecies environmental justice must be as much about play, storytelling and joy as about work, critique and pain."
(Donna Haraway, Staying with the trouble for multispecies environmental justice, 2018)
Oceanic ecologies inherit sites and cycles for sensing practices in the making. These fluid bodies are teeming with microscopic organisms that collectively provide important ecosystem services, while humans develop techno-scientific tools to analyze and transform these complex ecologies. Among these microorganisms, phytoplankton, often referred to as „wanderers of the plant“ (Greek φυτόν [phytó], ‘plant‘; πλαγκτός [planktos], ‚wanderer, wanderer‘),emerge as both keystone species and integral components of intricate marine and terrestrial systems. Not only do they absorb and convert the critically overproduced CO2, but they also produce oxygen in quantities equal to that of all terrestrial plants; breathing us into being and connecting us to global ecologies. As the foundation of the oceanic food web, they provide organic matter for all other marine life and positively influence carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere. Unfortunately, disruptions caused by oceanic changes pose a threat to their rhythmic dance between light and darkness, oxygenation and hypoxia, and production and predation. Yet, as collectives, they continue their dance, narrating stories of hope beyond human dimensions.
Changes in the oceans due to acidification, salinity decrease, eutrophication, and rising temperatures are interrupting their rhythmic dances between light and dark, oxygenated and hypoxic waters, producers and prey. Such shifts in bio-geochemical processes lead to transformations in the biological carbon pump and diel vertical migration (DVM), sedimentation, and also to threats and forced drifts for “plant drifters”. By considering the ocean not only as an unexplored space to be saved,but also as mind exercise, this dissertation addresses the challenges of these displaced and altered ecologies with/in planktonic realms.
This PhD project is part of the SNF "Interfacing the Ocean" at ZHdK Zurich.
archive of preliminary thoughts
Bioluminescent Pyrocystis lunula shining light in dark times
growing glowing gleaming Pyrocystis running through the hourglass fleeting time-transcending naturally oscillating between technological tools and circadian cycles
bioluminescent shimmers blue glitter in shaking flasks looking at species suddenly makes me see searching for light in the dark times Cultivating Pyrocystis lunula in the lab means making kin with other species, other agents, instruments of science. Creating artifical oceanic environments, where artifical seawater is mixed with only a single taxonomic well known strand, mediated and endlessly enhanced by microscopic vision; does that help to attune to the worldings? The sound is created by sonification of Pyrocystis lunula DNA. (Thanks to dnasonification.org)
Endlessly drifting through Neptuns meadows
Video of underwater meadows, while trying to find the fitting way
Immersion in the atmospheres of Neptuns meadows, endless views of stones and grass in the mediterrean sea, off the italian coast. A single entity of Neptuns grass (Posidonia oceanica) can form endless meadows, making a habitat for a vast amount of species. But leave me getting lost in the thicket of grass and thoughts.
Homo Aquaticus I
Encounters of species: algae, mammal, fish and more
I am not evolved with an aqualung, but I am slowly learning to immerse in these worlds. Feeling like an alien species, augmented to finally breathe and film in underwater habitats. Am I allowed to be here?
A catch of the daily ecologies in late summer mediterrean seas
From driving out on the boat, taking samples of the water and shifting the scales. Going straight from the coast into the laboratory in order to observe the composition of life, and then allowing the plankton to find its way back into the marine food web on the same day.
Archive of a visit to the Aquarium
Showing the ocean in a glass for a society of the spectacle. What do we see in an aquarium? How are we influenced by the representational settings, the light diffraction, stagings of animals and plants?
Drifting Valsaline Bay
Video of underwater ecologies of a istran bay
Drifting and snorkeling through Valsaline Bay, Croatia: a bay which suffers largely from negative changes. Be it the human influence of building a wall through the bay, parasitic bacteria killing the important Pina nobilis, or tourism. How can species find shelter in these ruins, and thrive in the new environments and how can we help?
Archive of a visit to the Baltics
reflections after the first visit of IOW - Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research blanketed by mineral year for year waiting in perpetuity in rigidity for the moment The present, what do you think of it how does it find you these changes who will you have been
Harbouring Sea Poem
Underwater film set in connection with the »Sea Poem« by Alice Oswald. SEA POEM what is water in the eyes of water loose inquisitive fragile anxious a wave, a winged form splitting up into sharp glances what is the sound of water after the rain stops you can hear the sea washing rid of the world‘s increasing complexity, making it perfect again out of perfect sand oscillation endlessly shaken into an entirely new structure what is the depth of water from which time has been rooted out the depth is the strength of water it can break glass or sink steel treading drowners inwards down what does it taste of water deep in it sown world steep shafts warm streams coal salt cod weed dispersed outflows and flytipping and the sun and its reflexion throwing two shadows what is the beauty of water sky is its beauty
Video of underwater harbor ecologies and a text by Alice Oswald
video work crossing different bodies of water
The life-giving, political, economic components of our „animated waters“ (Vernadsky 1933, Margulis 1990) exemplify a pressing melancholy of our position as human species. Spatially and temporally: as holobionts, as fluid beings, in our own bodies, in urban habitats, in the ecosystem and in the Anthropocene. This work draws from a stay at the river Schwärze and the bodily encounters occurring during this stay, which reflect the fluidity of water. Along the lifeline and contact zone between the forests of Brandenburg and the city of Berlin, the film immerses in wet ontologies (Gaard 2001, Steinberg & Peters 2015, Neimanis 2016) of multiple phenomena. Capturing the essence and pains through analogue photoprocesses, hydrotests, creative writing and filmmaking. Texts by me with an exerpt of Astrida Neimanis.
Bodies of Water, Body of Interest
„Der Nautilus schien sich nicht von der Stelle zu bewegen. Das lag daran, daß das Auge keinen Fixpunkt fand.“ (Jules Vernes, 20000 Meilen unter dem Meer. Erster Teil, Zürich: Diogenes 1976, hier S. 194.)