Project

¡Onwards+Under!

Copyright

Miriam Simun

Miriam Simun

Groups

¡ONWARDS + UNDER! proposes that as sea levels rise, particularly in highly populated coastal cities, the current plan to keep nature at bay and build a wall against the sea is untenable (and that walls against perceived threats not only do not work, but are dangerous metaphors to deploy).  ¡ONWARDS + UNDER! proposes that we embrace a changing climate and a rising sea level, and respond by adapting our bodies, abilities and lifestyles to live more intimately in, on and under the sea. To understand what this might look like, I dove into cultures and histories of humans living intimately with oceans, including the physical and ecological practices diving women of Japan (Ama) and Korea (Haenyo); the pearl divers of the Arabian/Iranian Gulf (and tin particular the music they use to organize their oceanic labors); the Moken people (sometimes called “sea-gypsies” or “water-people”) a buddhist Austronesian people that are trying to maintain a semi-nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle based almost exclusively on the sea amidst changing maritime and immigration regulations; the “Aquatic Ape” hypothesis which first became … View full description

¡ONWARDS + UNDER! proposes that as sea levels rise, particularly in highly populated coastal cities, the current plan to keep nature at bay and build a wall against the sea is untenable (and that walls against perceived threats not only do not work, but are dangerous metaphors to deploy).  ¡ONWARDS + UNDER! proposes that we embrace a changing climate and a rising sea level, and respond by adapting our bodies, abilities and lifestyles to live more intimately in, on and under the sea. To understand what this might look like, I dove into cultures and histories of humans living intimately with oceans, including the physical and ecological practices diving women of Japan (Ama) and Korea (Haenyo); the pearl divers of the Arabian/Iranian Gulf (and tin particular the music they use to organize their oceanic labors); the Moken people (sometimes called “sea-gypsies” or “water-people”) a buddhist Austronesian people that are trying to maintain a semi-nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle based almost exclusively on the sea amidst changing maritime and immigration regulations; the “Aquatic Ape” hypothesis which first became popularized as a feminist critique of dominant evolutionary theory and proposes that a crucial step in the evolution of homo sapiens involved a period of semi-aquatic lifestyle in what is now South Africa (the ape first stood up in water); and the recently invented sport/meditation culture of free-diving (which borrows techniques developed by the US military). This research is a mix of first and secondary sources: historical, interviews, site visits, and a personal embodied physical practice (“your urge to breathe is a lie” is a direct quotation from my free-diving instructor) - all research has been filmed and/or audio recorded. What can we learn from the knowledge and practices developed by indigenous groups, extreme sports sub-cultures, and alt-evolutionary theorists in order to imagine a human future amidst ecological crisis?