The Oceanographies Institute

The Oceanographies Institute studies human-ocean kinships. Its focus is essentially the relation between two kinds of bodies of water: the human body and the vast body of the ocean. It gives particular attention to affectual and sensual encounters between the two bodies. The institute therefore studies the relations of hands to mud, ears to the breaking the waves, feet to the feeling of sinking, rather than the ocean “in itself”, as if devoid of the human presence. It collects, analyzes and reenacts people's personal stories and encounters with the ocean. The tools it uses for this study come primarily from performance, sound art, and storytelling.

In fact, the institute uses microphones, speakers and light filters for its research, considering them to be as appropriate for studying personal relations to oceans as microscopes or petri dishes. In a series of private meetings, called Ocean Conversations and Demonstrations, different people’s experiences and memories of the ocean are explored. In public performances, the institute aims to reenact and share those private conversations with the public.

We are currently exploring different musical protocols for performing the ocean conversations. Our aim is to open up and bridge the space between speech and music, thus allowing different levels of engagement, from sensual to cerebal to somatic-therapeutic, with the public. The protocols may be applied by performers to spontaneously transform the conversations into, for example, songs for two or multiple voices, short sound poems, or landscape evocations. The protocols are exchangeable and combinable.

Listen to some of the polyphonic protocols in progress here