TWILIGHT WATERS

An audio-visual essay & sharing of thoughts, sounds and images between Montevideo and Rostock


“It is November 12th 2021 in the evening. I am standing on the edge of the main welcome pier inside Montevideo harbor. A mild evening. The sun’s setting twilight is changing faster minute by minute…”

Twilight Waters

A sharing of thoughts, sounds and images between Montevideo and Rostock. “It is November 12th 2021 in the evening. I am standing on the edge of the main welcome pier inside Montevideo harbor. A mild evening. The sun’s setting twilight is changing faster minute by minute…”

 

transcript:

TWILIGHT WATERS


It is November 12th 2021 in the evening. I am standing on the edge of the main welcome pier inside Montevideo harbor.A mild evening. The sun’s setting twilight is changing faster minute by minute.  

Grayish lead like skin of the dark harbor waters. Lit by the warm light of this evenings’ sun.Continuously dimming into cold. Wrinkles enfolding endlessly undulating patterns.

A group of explorers into specific territories. Today we are guarded guests within these closely surveyed and fenced-off harbor lands, protected by the dock workers of the sindicato trabajadores del puerto. Guided through what has been a glimps but out of reach. 


In my back I know the flagship research vessel of National Geographic. One dock further I will meet a Chinese container giant which tonight is filled with thousands of tons of soy. 


It is almost disquieting quiet. More than ever expected. After the many hours we’ve spent around the Bay. After the continuously beating drones of the power plants’ turbines. After the shocks of industrial construction, deformation and clearance. Hidden in this evenings’ background, only becoming present by the microphones’ sensitivity. 

Grayish lead like skin of the dark harbor waters. Lit by the warm light of this evenings’ sun.Continuously dimming into cold. Wrinkles enfolding endlessly undulating patterns.

Navigating along junctions that exist only for a fractal of a second. I am orienting along the shores, overlapping lands and waters


Muddy fishy close-ups stay in the nose. Rotten, toxic associations are uncomfortably touching. My feet look for a way through grayish ground, which is densely picked with the global range of human spill. Some pieces inform the wonky ground like intarsia in a carefully decorated piece of furniture. 


The surroundings creep. Closer and closer.

Trying to avoid its wetness I step from one plastic or other rubbish-skinned spot to the next. Squeezing temporarily sealed sponges. Sounds of seabirds and winds counter upcoming disgust. 


Back to the promenade. A jump into comforting distance. Wrapping chamomile through my fingers along the next rocky passage of the shore, smells warm, almost cosy.

Grayish lead like skin of the dark harbor waters.Lit by the warm light of this evenings’ sun. Continuously dimming into cold. Wrinkles enfolding endlessly undulating patterns.

I think about  neopelagic communities. Dwelling and growing in continuos drift by means of the numerous plastic rafts populating the oceans of our planet. I have been reading about them.


Neopelagic, an ecology that hasn’t been possible before. Species originally bound to mainlands and those living on the open sea populate the rapidly accumulating plastic spill. Formerly persistent coastal species started to reproduce and form new vagabond generations. Together with oceanic fellows they create alternative living communities on shared floating habitats.


Coastal species have always been traversing the oceans by means of floating debris. Evolutionary events that transgressed the  bio-geographic barriers imposed by oceans and continents. Yet the vastness of long-lived plastic input suddenly provides suitable habitat for both pelagic and mainland bound rafting species. Floating plastics have become vectors of transoceanic invasive species dispersal and introductions. 


Sonic signs of another presence leak.Distinct high harmonic calls.Maybe frogs or small toads. Maybe an endangered species.They never show up. Maybe ‘Melanophrynicus cupreuscapularis’, Uruguays’, specifically Montevideos, redbelly toad. 


Suddenly close to the flame of the refinery, lit the day before in the distance. Neo-, geo-, hypo-, petrol – and’ yet to come – pelagic’ ages’ foundations. Bulging bellies of terraforming actions. Gigantic torsi. Foundations of lands, that won’ become part of this countries’ habitat anymore.

Grayish lead like skin of the dark harbor waters.Lit by the warm light of this evenings sun.Continuously dimming into cold.Wrinkles enfolding endlessly undulating patterns. 

Poetic vectors. Striating the smooth. Smooting the striated.


We have been told, that:

 
” there are points, lines, and surfaces in striated space as well as in smooth space… In striated space, lines or trajectories tend to be subordinated to points: one goes from one point to another. In the smooth, it is the opposite: the points are subordinated to the trajectory…In smooth space, the line is therefore a vector, a direction and not a dimension or metric determination.”


and, if we stay for a short moment with simple opposition , that:


“the sea is a smooth space par excellence, and yet was the first to encounter the demands of increasingly strict striation. The problem did not arise in proximity to land. On the contrary, the striation of the sea was a result of navigation on the open water. Maritime space was striated as a function of two astronomical and geographical gains: bearings, obtained by a set of calculations based on exact observation of the stars and the sun; and the map, which intertwines meridians and parallels, longitudes and latitudes, plotting regions known and unknown onto a grid.”


What follows is the acoustic navigation of the deep, opaque oceanic milieu. Augmented by further instrumentations. Sonic striation.


Another paper tells, that:


“Turning seas into a military environment did not mean that …[humans, we]… joined an already existing space as its new guests. Rather, it implied the creation of a new space.  That this creation [is] sonic mean[s] that … [we compete]  for frequency bands with other underwater creatures….[It wasn’t about] discovering a pre-existing sonic reality. It was a process of active sonification, of tuning the ocean to new sound frequencies. …The acknowledgment …that cetaceans [- animals such as whales, dolphins, and porpoises – ] use sound to navigate the sea, and that they do so at various frequency ranges depending on the species, forces us to reformulate the old dichotomy between subject and object.  [To understand] perception as a process of filtering at different scales by different kinds of animals.…the main issue at stake is how the different animal worlds, [including us] interact”

Grayish lead like skin of the dark harbor waters.Lit by the warm light of this evenings’ sun.Continuously dimming into cold.Wrinkles enfolding endlessly undulating patterns.

The waters’ skins become mine, – folding time. Temporal borders, limitations that dissolve the next moment. The porous protection of my enclosing sense organ makes me permeable part of all everyday continuos abrasion, sedimentation, contamination…


Subterranean traces, cosmic trails and streams of exploitation. Dreamed triangulations along knotted strings, songlines and chants.

 Silk road. Soy road. Fish trail.

We stop, step out, listen, watch, pass by and meet on no-time-land. 


Open mouths of the global fishing fleet. Fishermen step out, brush their teeth and chat. Brief entangled moments within global knots. A coincidence merges complete strangers. A meeting under the fishing fleets´ dazzling light.


Lethal lights of commodity chains.

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Credits and References:

Image: Kerstin Ergenzinger  including footage from Rene Rissland and Sono-Choreographic Collective


Sound: Kerstin Ergenzinger including recordings from Nika Schmitt, Fernando Godoy and Bnaya-Halperin Kaddari


Text: Kerstin Ergenzinger including passages  from and references to:


Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari: The Smooth and the Striated in A Thousand Plateaus Capitalism and Schizophrenia, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, London, 2005


Lino Camprubí: Construction of the Ocean as the Navy’s Operating Environment in Navigating Noise, Walther König 2017


Linsey E. Haram, James T. Carlton, Luca Centurioni, Mary Crowley, Jan Hafner, Nikolai Maximenko, Cathryn Clarke Murray, Andrey Y. Shcherbina, Verena Hormann, Cynthia Wright & Gregory M. Ruiz: Emergence of a neopelagic community through the establishment of coastal species on the high seas in nature communications, 2021