36.5/A Durational Performance with the Sea

What 36.5 means to me:

So next to this is the description of the project from the 36.5 website, which you can look at through the button at the top of this page.

I joined this project when I was still a high school student. I was 17 and unsure of if I wanted a career in the arts. I was and still am a dancer and sculptor. At the time I was a part of a teen cohort called Socrateens at Socrates Sculpture Park. It was a day when I wasn't at the park, if memory serves me well it was on a weekend, when Douglass Paulson, the director of education at Socrates told me about an amazing artist he wanted me to meet.

I then hurried over to the park, where I met Sarah, and became a part of the livestream event on September 5th, 2020(the original day for the project). The rest is an amazing and beautiful history of Sarah teaching me how to be an artist and director.

This project has opened up many doors for me, it showed me that art is practical and can be a job. Unlike what my family thinks, and that I can be an artist. The project taught me what Sea Level Rise and Climate Change can do. As well as the fact that it isn't as far away as we like to think. It took me seeing the water rise and fall over Sarah's body through different forms and media to fully grasp how powerful our environment. As well as the fact that we make a change through means that can be artistic. Since before Sarah I just thought the only way to educate and understand Climate Change through school and scientific articles which we can easily ignore.

However, we cannot ignore a fellow human being (Sarah), being engulfed by water. We immediately question safety, the safety of a human being facing natural environments, as well as how clean the environment is (which is a causation of our behavior).

All in all, this project has shifted my opinions on myself, my environment, and my community.


36.5 / A Durational Performance with the Sea is a series of performance works and video works created by Sarah Cameron Sunde that engage people on personal, local, and global scales in conversations around deep time and sea-level rise. It began with a poetic gesture – standing in water for 12 hours and 48 minutes while the tide rose and fell on her body – and has grown into a complex, collaborative, evolving series of works spanning seven years and six continents. By executing these works in seas around the world in both a live form and video form, we hope that each individual that encounters the project will consider our contemporary relationship to water, as individuals, in community, and as a civilization.

Each work in the series consists of deep community engagement, live performance event, a time-lapse video, and a long-form cinematic video work from a different coastal location. For each:

“I travel to a location threatened by sea-level rise to stand in a tidal area for a full tidal cycle, usually 12-13 hours; water engulfs my body and then recedes again. The tide tracks time on my body viscerally, and functions as a metaphor for the changing environment. The water is my collaborator and the risks are real. I stay present in the sensations, attempt to embody the ocean and find a way to endure the struggle. The public is invited to stand in the water with me for however long they like and to participate in performing a series of physical gestures from the shore, creating a human clock that communicates to me each hour that passes.” (Sunde)

The entire performance is filmed in real time from multiple perspectives and then translated into a multi-channel video installation that can be shared with a much wider audience.

To date, eight 36.5 works have been created with communities around the world:

36.5 / Bass Harbor, Maine (2013)

36.5 / Akumal Bay, Mexico (2014)

36.5 / San Francisco Bay, California (2014)

36.5 / North Sea, The Netherlands (2015)

36.5 / Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh (2017)

36.5 / Bay of All Saints, Brazil (2019)

36.5 / Bodo Inlet, Kenya (2019)

36.5 / Te Manukanukatanga ō Hoturoa, Aotearoa-New Zealand (2020-2022)

Next up:

New York Estuary- Turtle Island

Cited from 36.5.org