“Water brings the distant near, bits of sound – sighs, gurgles, sucks, almost voices — connecting you with some other place, some other time, an experience from far away or long ago.”   photographer Roni Horn, “Another Water”

We can learn from nature how to restore balance in our lives.

Being on the sea,  you can feel, if not hear and respond,  the deep. Imagine having a conversation unlike any you’ve had before.  Sing/warble/whisper-whistle in response to what you hear around and within you.

Bell 8 at Waterfront Museum, Red Hook

This artist seems to be doing something like that – he seems to fly and sing with the spirits, and then jumps down into some cave.

Yet, while we think of water in terms of cleansing, swimming, Narcissus,  we have not returned the favor; we have been unconscionable terrorists, abusing the oceans through polluting, overfishing, overheating the planet.

Staring over the stern of a boat, the sea is all shook up, troubled waters, sometimes mixed with smoke from exhaust, and braiding with the wake from other boats, cross-currents.  The Wake segment in BELL 8 is an acknowledgement of  our trespasses and efforts to nudge people to imagine a future when we will treat the ocean with respect.

Woven into this love song is a celebration of current efforts to heal the ocean – art made from the same plastic), sea goddesses designed to serve as artificial reefs, and efforts to manage kelp forests

In the early 1990s, the American Museum of Natural History put an open rowboat in the center of a small room, and projected the sea on 4 sides of the room, as a sensory aid to understanding the perspective of arctic explorers. You had to admire the bravery of those men venturing off with so little protection. That installation inspired me to create BELL 8.

My urge to do this project stems from 20 years of bliss before the mast, when I was a 0-20 year old, a full fledged space cadet, a happy airhead. Editing the film is a means to understand emotional rhythms, their physical manifestation, tempos, and to explore what triggers changes. Various neuroscientists, philosophers, biologists are doing research to decipher why proximity to water is so soothing. Just as a baby starts to coo when he/she is cradled, we all start to relax when we are in a vibrating train, or on a boat rising and falling. Certainly, I was hypnotized by the sea.

Seeing Mike Leigh’s “Mr. Turner”  reminds you how many artists have captured the sea in unusual ways. Consider Francisco Faria’s drawing that makes the sea seem like stone, and like bodies, lying with rumps to the ceiling, suggested in Catarina Arcipriete’s collage of painted hands, feathers, ribbons, or Nan Melville’s image, below, of sand that seems to be from another planet.


Photo by Nan Melville. Crane Beach, Massachusetts