36.5 / A Durational Performance with the Sea is an ongoing time-based art project created by Sarah Cameron Sunde that engages people on personal, local, and global scales in conversations around deep time and sea-level rise. It began with a poetic gesture – 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 seven years and six continents. By executing these works in seas around the world in both a live form and video form, we hope that each individual that encounters the project will consider our contemporary relationship to water, as individuals, in community, and as a civilization.
Each work in the series consists of a live performance event, a time-lapse video, and a long-form cinematic video work from a different coastal location. For each:
“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 physical gestures from the shore, creating a human clock that communicates to me each hour that passes.” (Sunde)
The entire performance is 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.
To date, five 36.5 works have been created with communities around the world:
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 (2017)
With each location, the video work grows into a larger scale video installation. In its final form, the entire series of works will consist of a 12-channel video (two per locations, starting with North Sea) 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.