As part of the Sea Art Festival 2023, we have created a program for raising fundamental questions and discussing the impact of current and future human activities on the marine environment. Together with domestic and international oceanographers, scientists, artists and environmental activists, we have initiated a collectively authored manifesto composed of questions exploring, interrogating and understanding our relationships with the sea. This is the beginning of an ongoing conversation and Lab visitors are invited to add their questions.

Aug. 23 (Wed) - Sep. 15 (Fri), 2023
Led by
  • Irini Papadimitriou (Artist Director, Sea Art Festival 2023)
  • J.R. Carpenter (Artist, Researcher, Author)
  • Giulia Champion (Researcher)

and 53 participants

A manifesto may be aspirational. A manifesto may be playful. A manifesto may have more questions than answers. In this document, we are collectively authoring a manifesto composed of questions for exploring and understanding our relationship with the sea. We intend this to be the beginning of an ongoing conversation.

Where does the ocean begin? When does the wind end? How do you think as the sea?
What does the sea remember? Who governs the sea?
Who is the owner of the Ocean? Does the Ocean have an owner? Who are we listening to?
How can we/you know the sea? Do you think you serve the ocean or do you think the ocean serves you?
What does the Sea and what does marine biodiversity need? Why do the boundaries of the sea and river change??
Are we the steward of the ocean? Is it possible to balance economic development with environmental sustainability and ecological conversation?
What does a blue economy mean to different communities? How can we become good ancestors for our ocean?
To whom does the sea belong to, to humans or non-humans? How can we collectively open space for hope and despair to coexist?
How do we care for our coast and ocean? How can we merge/put in conversation scientific knowledge with traditional communities' knowledge about the ocean?
Is fear/some level of fear of connected to the sea for you/your community? Do you fear for/with the sea for the future? Do you fear how the sea and how relationships with the sea might change in the future?
Are there still seahorses in the sea? Who's looking out for the sea in the long term?
What is "just" for whom? Would we/you be willing to change your engagement with the Ocean? (as a fisher/swimmer/consumer/diver/scientist/coastal community member/artist/etc.)
What is the relationship between blue economy and marine protection? Is there space for symbiotic outcomes? Can art play a role in communicating and navigating the general public to find their personal, emotional paths to deepen their relationship with the sea?
You may not be technically equipped to solve the problems of the sea you live around. But you can definitely find ways to deepen your relationship with the sea. Do you think you can trust art to be the medium for relationship-building between humans and the sea, while trusting science and technology to do the problem-solving? Look up! Even if you don’t see it on a cloudy rainy day while the sea is refilled with drops of water, you know up above the sea level are the mighty mountains that help create rain. Further up in the clouds, melting glaciers on mountains transform into waterfalls and streams to meet and fill up the seas. What happens up in the mountains and downstream influences the sea and vice versa. How can we sensitize all human life everywhere about the sea and their universal connection with it? What will you say about the sea to your family and friends living away from it?
As artists how do we resist or know the boundaries of greenwashing? How do we recognize greenwashing? How do we care for the coast? What does that care look like?
How do we embrace despair and hope? How do we use art to extend our empathy beyond what we know and see in front of us? How do we use education, art or different mechanisms to enable people to claim responsibility in effective positive ways?
In order to repair our relationship with the ocean (the negative impacts we impose on it on different levels now, because for many years before humans had a reciprocal and positive relationship with the sea) shouldn't we first restore our relationship with it? With the way we treat this invaluable source of life? What do you think about when you think about the ocean?
How can we show the ocean we depend on it? Who should take care of the ocean and its life and creatures?
Why is the ocean important for you? What is your strongest emotion when thinking about the ocean?
What name would you give the ocean, if not ocean? If the function and meaning of the ocean have changed, how can we understand the difference between rivers and ocean other than water?
What can be the most meaningful way to foster loving and caring relations with marine species (if the whole ecosystem is too big to embrace)? What would be the most immediate, personal and intimate act of caring for oceans?
How can we think beyond generations about the future of oceans? How can we live the best and most ocean friendly lives?
What does your sea look like in your memory? How will the sea be remembered by future generations?
Do we govern the sea, or does the sea govern us? Are we ocean yet?

The following thoughts and contributions were submitted to the Sea Art Festival 2023 Manifesto from local residents, artists, and marine researchers:

What is the sea to you?
The sea is always a good place to go The sea is eternity
The sea means my mother. She’s warm and something I can’t live without The sea is romance, just like sailing on a boat
The sea is the home of my heart The sea is a mirror of the mind and environment
It surrounds three of the four sides of our country The sea is ‘breath'
The sea is my other half The sea is a movie
The sea is a place to rest The sea is youth
The sea is a massive playground The sea is a playground in Summer
The sea is the home of fish The sea is my eternal home
The sea is a hope The sea is my 20s!
The sea is a mother The sea is a shelter
The sea is a troublemaker The sea was an amusement park...
The sea is memories that contain our stories. Healing Spot. Stability. Resting place. Wave (blue)
A place where new dreams come true Now it is nuclear contaminated water. It became a very sad (blue) sea
The sea is a vast unknown world, and the scenery of life unfolds before our eyes every day. Although I don't know how to get or acquire resources from the sea on my own, I prepare my meals with things caught by someone else. Although I don't throw trash into the ocean myself, I know that the household trash I create will one day flow into the ocean. I don't know anything about what happens in the distant sea, but I'm trying to find out about the nearby sea. The sea is the eternal home of mankind as a space for living and healing.
The main space of life along with the air we breathe and the land we live on. Die-hard opposition to ocean dumping of Fukushima contaminated water: All oceans are connected and all life is connected.
What does a healthy ocean look like?
Think about a healthy ocean from two aspects. One is a clean ocean where the trash we throw away is completely gone and red tide no longer occurs. The other is a sea where the ecological balance is intact and the natural circulatory system operates properly. Clear and clean sea with a healthy marine ecosystem
Just as we keep our house clean and well-maintained, this is what it looks like when we take care of it with the thought that it is our living space. We do not turn our homes into garbage dumps. Dumping of contaminated water from nuclear power plants into the ocean should be blocked at the source, the use of the ocean should not be dominated by national interests, and the right to life of sea creatures should not be taken away by reckless human actions such as dumping of contaminated water.
What actions do you want to see that enable caring for the ocean and how do you see the role of coastal communities as we continue to be challenged by climate change?
Reducing human greed and adopting an attitude of coexistence with the ocean Practice of simultaneously removing earth waste and marine waste
Just as everyday activities can become political activities, I believe that activities for ocean protection can be done in a variety of ways, whether in cities, coastal areas, policy and industry, or daily life. The important thing is not to romanticize the sea and not to let go of the idea that it is very closely involved in our lives. Participating in actions against ocean dumping of contaminated water from Fukushima nuclear power plant.
All of the world's oceans are connected, and they touch all lands. Therefore, the role of specific communities in specific regions may not be the only role in climate change and changes in the ocean's circumstances. Shouldn't there be a change in universal awareness of climate change and a realization that the ocean is a finite resource? The sea that connects everything has no nationalities or borders, so joint cooperation between neighboring countries is urgent.
The climate crisis is also putting coastal communities at risk. Rather than talking about the social role of the community, I would like to say that a safe residential and industrial environment should be guaranteed, and measures should be taken to address the disappearing industry and shrinking workforce, especially in fishing villages. To oppose ocean dumping of contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, individual victims such as coastal fishermen, divers, and fishermen filed a complaint with the UN Human Rights Council, and at the national level, they filed a complaint with the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. Although this complaint has no legal effect, it creates pressure from the international community and creates public opinion, ultimately leading to a halt to ocean dumping of contaminated water.
It is a matter of thinking, speaking, and stopping about the ocean that does not belong to anyone and cannot belong to anyone, and that is still destroying the ecology of the ocean due to human selfishness and greed. Establishing a global joint cooperation plan to save the one and only aqua planet (aqua-sphere)
The ocean is not a garbage dump or a heterotopia separate from our lifestyles. a conceptual and realistic way to think of the ocean as a home for life rather than a ‘resource treasure trove.’ Investigations and grounds that are not swayed by political opinions should be shared as to why ocean dumping of contaminated water from nuclear power plants should not be done, and a conscience that can shake off immediate profits based on this is needed.

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