January 31, 2021

How Can We Connect To The Grief And Uncertainty Of Rising Sea Levels?

Joanne Matthews

Audio & Photography2020

Wardie Bay in Edinburgh, my local beach, is predicted to be underwater by 2050.

I have become obsessed with this prediction, which has pushed me to perform attempts at connection with this landscape using sound, photography and writing. Through conducting a series of sonic meditations, responsive singing and futuring exercises.

I ask myself to be present with the natural phenomena of salt erosion, heavy sea haar and the death cycles of seaweed exposed on the beach. I ponder what will be the loss to humans when this beach disappears and what the future will hold for other species?

An overwhelming sense of the eerie threads through my investigations. Eeriness is to look beyond the romantic notion of a pastoral Britain that has never existed, it’s to embrace something stirring, rising, unsettling in the landscape, a hauntology of dark pasts and uncertain futures in the face of climate collapse. With unstoppable tidal shifts already in occurrence, are we already living underwater?