36.5 / A Durational Performance with the Sea (2013 – 2022) is a series of nine site-specific participatory performance works and video artworks created by Sarah Cameron Sunde that engage people on personal, local, and global scales in conversations around deep time, embodiment, and sea-level rise. It began with an impulsive poetic gesture in response to Hurricane Sandy’s impact on New York City – standing in water for 12 hours and 48 minutes while the tide rose and fell on her body – and has grown into a complex, collaborative, evolving series of works spanning nine years and six continents. By creating these multi-disciplinary artworks in bodies of water around the world, we hope that each individual that encounters the project will consider their contemporary relationship to water, as individuals, in community, as a civilization, and as a species.
Each work in the series consists of deep community engagement, a live participatory performance event, a time-lapse video, a long-form cinematic video work , and varied ephemera from a different coastal location.
“I travel to a location threatened by sea-level rise to stand in a tidal area for a full tidal cycle, usually 12-13 hours; water engulfs my body and then recedes again. The tide tracks time on my body viscerally, and functions as a metaphor for the changing environment. The water is my collaborator and the risks are real. I stay present in the sensations, attempt to embody the ocean and find a way to endure the struggle. The public is invited to stand in the water with me for however long they like and to participate in performing a series of artistic interventions and gestures from the shore, creating a human clock that communicates to me each hour that passes.” (Sunde)
Nine 36.5 works have been created with communities around the world. Starting with 36.5 / North Sea in 2015, each performance was filmed in real time from multiple perspectives and then translated into a multi-channel video installation that can be shared with a much wider audience into the future.
36.5 / Bass Harbor, Maine (2013)
36.5 / Akumal Bay, Mexico (2014)
36.5 / San Francisco Bay, California (2014)
36.5 / North Sea, The Netherlands (2015)
36.5 / Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh (2016-17)
36.5 / Bay of All Saints, Brazil (2019)
36.5 / Bodo Inlet, Kenya (2019)
36.5 / Te Manukanukatanga ō Hoturoa, Aotearoa-New Zealand (2020-22)
36.5 / New York Estuary, Turtle Island-USA (2020-22)
With each work in the series, the project has grown organically into a large-scale production. Many many people in each of these locations has made this work possible and they continue to be involved in the work. In its final form, the entire series of works will consist of a 12-18 channel video (two-three per location) with six layers of audio (one per location) that can be acquired to be shown or commissioned for exhibition anywhere in the world – in full scale or on a smaller scale.