January 5, 2017: 6:30am-6:51pm
12 hours, 21 minutes
live performance + time-lapse + durational video work of the same length

Bangladesh was chosen for the fifth work in the series to contrast Western ideas about sea-level rise and to platform a different perspective. The primary partnership with Britto Arts Trust of Dhaka was developed over 18 months.

Despite significant warnings from the U.S. State Department about security threats for foreign travelers, Sunde chose to follow through with plans for the performance but followed recommended protocol to stay out of the public eye. Following a July 2016 terrorist attack in a cafe in the capital city of Dhaka, which killed 20 foreign travelers to and/or foreign-born residents of Bangladesh, there were significant tensions and conditions that were decidedly unsafe for non-Bangladeshis in the country. These conditions caused Sunde to delay the performance by multiple months and meant that the family who hosted Sunde when she decided to complete the work in July of 2017 was putting themselves at risk by simply associating with her. She was unable to leave their home or walk outside alone while creating the work. For these reasons, Sunde and the 36.5 team chose not to publicize the work, seek out press coverage, or engage public participation in the same way as she has in other iterations.

Sunde and the incredible team from Britto coped with sickness, loss of equipment, and other documentation challenges. This reinforced the importance of working with a local cinematographer and film crew.

The “Human Clock” movement phrase was adapted into traditional Bengali form. There was lots of music – mandolin, khamak, drums, and the call to prayer – that added so much to the project.

Saint Martins Island is two miles from the Bangladesh / Myanmar border. This provided a new resonance with the contemporary refugee crisis and to seeing water as a means of survival. Many local stories were collected and are part of the 36.5 video archive.

36.5 / Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh

St. Martins Island
Fifth Work in Series
by Sarah Cameron Sunde

with Britto Arts Trust and Bangladesh Environmental Network

Tayeba Lipi & Mahbub Rahman (curators), Saiful Wadud Helal (cinematographer), Reetu Sattar & Nasir Ahammed (producers), Shahriar Shaon & Abu Hena Timu (cameras), Fahmida Sumi (dance and camera), Syeda Firoza Khanom Rumi (assistant)

Other key collaborators – and those who are deserving of an expression of deep gratitude – include: all the local participants on Saint Martins Island, especially Islam, who spontaneously joined us to play his mandolin, our dear scuba-diver friends, and the family that took us in; and thanks to everyone around the world who helped make this happen: Piama Habibullah, Naeem Mohaiemen, Naseem Parvez, Sufian Khondker, Nazrul Islam, Mohd. Abdul Matin, and Md. Shahjahan Mridha.

Due to the political situation in Bangladesh, Sunde chose to keep this iteration under the radar and did not seek out press. 

Following the screening at Britto, the 36.5 / Bay of Bengal durational video work (12 hours, 21 minute) has been exhibited together with 36.5 / North Sea (12 hours, 46 minutes) during Works on Water, an inaugural triennial at 3LD Art & Technology Center, New York City, June 2017 and at Yellowfish Durational Performance Art Festival in Seattle, Washington, 2018.