Writing with Water

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Ida Larsen making word confluences in the Writing with Water workshop

As part of my current Frontiers in Retreat residency with HIAP on Suomenlinna island, Finland, I ran a two day workshop on Writing with Water with postgraduate students from University of the Arts, Helsinki from the new Ecology and Contemporary Performance MA and from Performance Studies – Christiana Bissett, Ida Larsen, Elina Minn and Jussi Salminen. We considered writers on water including Bachelard, Deakin, Gooley. We discussed the behaviours, characteristics, movements, political, biological, environmental and psychological significances of water. We discussed immersion, the littoral, fear and love for water, dissolution. I presented recent water projects including my water exoplanet novella, Meanda and the River Runs collaboration with Urbonas Studio. We looked at recent work with water by other artists including Tuula Narhinen, Susan Derges, Sarah Kenchington and Bram Arnold. We made experiments outside on the island and in HIAP’s Project Space in order to generate and develop the beginnings of some ideas for texts, images, actions with and about water. One of the workshop participants reports below:

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Jussi Salminen, Flashlight Cave

Jussi Salminen, Work Seeds

I was playing with the idea, that life, as we know it, arrived to planet earth from outer space in the form of water. This water included consciousness. And “Consciousness is continuous … without breach, crack or division. It is nothing jointed; it flows” (William James, The Principles of Psychology). I was searching for altered states of consciousness of water. Where has water been through? I found a man-made cave occupied by water. The human mind developed in water-made caves, so what has a man-made cave done for water? I started to examine water with altered states of consciousness in this man-made cave by voice work (humming into the flooded reverberating space), wall drawings, and by taking a sample with me to study through smell and observation. I would like to take this research further into laboratory work (microscopic testing, electric charge etc.), site-specific work (Plato’s cave for water) and bodywork (telepathy, contact, encounters). The water sample was tinted brown, active, squirming with life, in comparison with the flat, still, odourless water from the tap. And what are we going to do with all this stupid water (tap water)? From the springs I can hear my ancestors calling!

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Elina Minn, Fictional Hydramap in the Writing with Water workshop. Photo: Salla Lahtinen.
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