While planning 36.5 / San Francisco Bay, Sarah brought in movement and media artist Sasha Petrenko and together they created a physical vocabulary to mark the passing of the hours — which is now used and modified in all subsequent 36.5 works. Based on nautical hand signals, the 6 minute phrase is performed on the hour for the duration of Sunde’s performance. The public is invited to learn the phrase, thus providing space for them to communicate the time somatically through a collective act of presence.
During the four days leading up to the PSi (Performance Studies International) Conference in Melbourne, 2016, Sasha and Sarah mapped out the location and time of the high tide closest to their physical bodies, and attempted to perform the 36.5 choreography at that time, wherever they were. Sasha was in San Francisco for the duration; Sarah was in the Netherlands, on an airplane, and then in her hometown of New York City. The video work above is the result.
36.5 combines formal aesthetics of Land Art on a monumental scale, Performance Art on an individual body scale, and Video Art on a digital scale with Socially-Engaged Practice as it relates to contemporary environmental concerns.
Each performance work is site-specific: the process is participatory; local partners, local artist collaborators/contributors: cinematographer, dancers, musicians, poets; the precise site is determined with community input.
Each video work is unique: captured from multiple perspectives by a local camera crew; the footage is edited into a durational video work that is the same length as the performance and shown on location within 10 days; the shots are long, lasting 10-20 minutes; a low-level music score based on local sounds and climate data is created by collaborator Joshua Dumas and layered in, with the goal of creating an audio/visual experience that collapses space and time.
When creating a 36.5 work on location, Sunde partners with at least one local arts organization and a local filmmaker, and the project grows organically based on whom she meets. Through research, conversations, observation and workshops, the core question she asks everyone she meets: “What is your relationship with the sea?” Answers and stories help determine specific details for the performance: where to stand, what the installation becomes on the shore, what the local artist and musician contributions will be, etc. Sunde builds a site-specific work with important contributions from the public. On the day of the performance, in addition to the film crew and an organized team of 4-6 people to help execute the work, the community members she has encountered become key communicators of the project to passersby.
The climate crisis can seem abstract because it is happening too slowly to be perceived by humans on a daily basis. 36.5 invites participants to slow down, observe, experience and consider the impact of sea-level rise by putting their own bodies in direct relationship with the water. There is simply no substitute for experiencing slow change on one’s body or witnessing it over the course of a day. This act of slowing down stays with participants and grants deeper understanding of our place in the world, which is the first step of many toward adaptation and collective intersectional resiliency.
PROCESS-BASED TANGENTIAL WORKS:
Since 36.5 began, Sunde has experimented with a variety of ways of documenting the process. Tangential events have grown out of the primary work, such as a screening with a public engagement event (36.5 at Oerol), a video based on the movement phrase for the human clock (36.5 / Bodies and Bodies of Water on a Moving Planet), a site-specific movement piece through Zuccotti Park (36.5 / Mannahatta – Streams Beneath Concrete). 36.5 in gray/blue is a tangential digital text work that details the thoughts Sunde was having while in the water during 36.5 / San Francisco Bay (2014); From 2014-15, she documented her process with this blog.
PROCESS TO BUILD THE WORK IN NYC:
@kintothecove is an evolving collaboration between Sarah Cameron Sunde, Audrey Dimola (former Director of Public Programs at Socrates Sculpture Park), Christopher Bisram, and many people who live near the Cove where 36.5 / New York Estuary took place. It is both part of the greater 36.5 series and a project in its own right.
Kin to the Cove’s goals were, and remain, to: