She Took To The Sea

Sound Design for performance and window installation created by Chelsea M. Warren. She writes:

Amongst the uncertainty at the start of Covid-Times, one story stood out to me as an example of hope amongst the flood of bizarre and tragic news. A podcast put out by the folks at 99% Invisible entitled “The Natural Experiment,” in which they interview Acoustic Ecologist Michelle Fournet, who studies marine communication and the impact of human activity on oceanic ecosystems. Fournet related that the pandemic had provided a remarkable opportunity; it created a monumental silencing of human activity in our oceans. For the first time in decades, the acoustic scientists of the world are listening to undisturbed marine life behavior, and for Fournet, hump back whales in Alaska where there is normally consistent cruise boat activity. Moreover, through constraints on human activity, potentially the natural world will rebound. 

There is a connection between this story and a puppet show I originally performed at Open Eye Figure Theatre.  In “She Took To The Sea”,  Aguanaut Harriet recounts the oceanic journeys of her youth from the comfort of her bathtub of salt water and bubbles. Her first journey tells the story of discovery when her beloved Oceaviator, a loud and poorly designed underwater transport, breaks down. It sinks to the bottom of the sea, leaving her floating alone in the ocean. In that moment of failure and isolation, Harriet hears the sounds of the sea for the first time. 

Inspired by Michelle Fournet the Acoustic Ecologist and Harriet the Aguanaut, my hope is that when we finally transition out of the pandemic, we take with us the opportunities this slow down provided. 

external link to read more about the project and videos She Took To The Sea

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