The Water Age – 3 new books for 2018

I have established a publishing imprint called Meanda Books to publish the three small books that are the outcome of my work in the Frontiers in Retreat art and ecology project. The books will be published in July. An expression of interest form is at the bottom of this post. The books are:


Green 20970-dd-246-HiRes cover


The Water Age and other Fictions

Paperback ISBN 9780995490215

ebook ISBN 9780995490222


Includes a revised, expanded version of Meanda, a future fiction novella about an ocean exoplanet. Octavio Paz meets J.G. Ballard meets David Attenborough in tales of hybrid species and aqua technologies. Inspired by spitting fish, spiders’ sticky lines, sliming snails, inking squids and singing whales.  [Image: James A. Hudson]

Ida Larsen, Writing with Water


The Water Age Art and Writing Workshops

Paperback ISBN 9780995490239

ebook ISBN 9780995490246

How might we live with more water in the future? Art and writing workshops relating to aquatic biomimicry, walking, swimming, maps, reading water environments, watery language. A wealth of playful exercises to produce art and writing focused on water.

1 Annantalo


The Water Age Children’s Art and Writing Workshops

Paperback ISBN 9780995490253

ebook ISBN 9780995490260

The water you drink has been through the bladder of a Tyrannosaurus Rex and many other places. The water on Earth is 4.4 billion years old and came here from outer space. The octopus has three hearts and its eyes can look in two separate directions.

What other facts can we find out about the behaviour of water?

What can we learn about aquatic flora and fauna?

What imaginative ideas can we have about living with more water?

The Water Age Children’s Art and Writing Workshops is a book for teachers, artists and writers who are working with children aged 8-11. The workshops focus on water and contemplate a possible future when we are living with more water.

The art workshop suggests drawing and painting waterscapes, building waterscapes in the classroom or playground, designing and making models for water living, creating simple films about water living. The writing workshop helps to develop a story about a future watery world, and suggests performing and recording a story, creating an exhibition or broadcast, or turning a story into a book.



April Writing

March was very busy and I’m hoping to get some settled writing done this month. I’m working in two opposite directions – the future and the past – and trying not to go mad with that!

I’m editing a book called The Midden with Jenni Nurmenniemi, which relates to the Frontiers in Retreat art and ecology research project. I have just returned from Helsinki and a very productive meeting with Jenni and the book designer, Serge from NODE. The book will be published in the summer and includes essays by Taru Elfving, Emma Itaranta, Jenni Nurmenniemi, Jussi Parikka, Antti Salminen and myself.

1 Annantalo
My Water Age workshop with children at Annatalo Art School, Helsinki

I’m also finalising a series of books, The Water Age, that I will self-publish, which are the culmination of my own work in the Frontiers in Retreat project. One book is a collection of my future fictions. The other two books present art and writing workshops, one for adults and the other for children. More on the publication dates for those coming soon.

And work on the final book in my historical trilogy, Conquest, published by Impress Books, is underway. The new novel, The Anarchy, is set in 12th century Europe and focuses on the Welsh princess, Nest ferch Rhys and the continuing struggles between the Welsh and the Normans. I have a couple of guest blogposts coming up this month on M.K. Tod’s A Writer of History and Mary Anne Yarde’s Myths, Legends, Books and Coffee Pots. Her first guest this month, is Tom Williams, a British writer who has written a novel about a man he describes as ‘the James Bond of the Napoleonic Wars’. If you are interested in historical fiction this sounds like a good read.

1,000 years back and 1,000 years forward


Some readers of my posts may feel confused by the polarised nature of my activities: on the one hand writing early medieval fiction and the other hand writing future fiction about exoplanets and other life poetics. I get quite confused by this paradox myself!

However, the medieval historian Henry of Huntingdon, writing in the 12th century, was happy to address readers in the third, fourth and fifth millennia. ‘If mortal generations are prolonged so long as that’, he said. He addressed readers 3,000 years ahead of his own time – ‘I who will be dust in your time have made mention of you in this work, such a long time before your birth’ – because he believed in history’s redemptive potential for both the present and the future. So I guess I shouldn’t worry about my own polarities too much.

For more contemplation on the topic of history and the future see Amanda Jane Hingst’s excellent book on Orderic Vitalis, The Written World, which I was delighted to just buy in the wonderful Raven Secondhand Bookshop in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


My most recent historical novel is Conquest: Daughter of the Last King (Impress Books, 2016) set in 12th century Wales, England and Normandy. I’m working on the sequel now.

Last year I published a future fiction novella, Meanda, and am now working on a new collection of future fictions inspired by aquatic flora and fauna.


Top image by Jean Le Tavernier, Public Domain,

Bottom image: Algae in Iceland, Zooetics Future Fictions Summit. Photo: Nomeda Urbonas.

As Above So Below

Meanda Lilypond photo Yohann Gozard
Tracey Warr, Meanda. Photo: Yohann Gozard for Exoplanet Lot.

As Above So Below is an arts and astronomy project at ACA in Allenheads, Northumberland, UK, coinciding with the building of a new community observatory.

Earlier this year I ran a future fiction writing workshop with schoolchildren and installed a ground text around the Armstrong Hydraulic Engine in Allenheads village. My future fiction novella, Meanda, and the outcomes of the children’s workshop will feature in next weekend’s finale exhibition, along with the work of 17 other artists,  28-30 October 2016. Full details:


Writing with Water

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:

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!

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

Non-human, non-animal seminar Z to A

A list of references for my presentation during the Non-human, Non-animal seminar held at the Museum of Nonhumanity, Helsinki on 24 September 2016. More on the seminar here.

Zooetics – Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas, Tracey Warr & Viktorija Siaulyte, in Frontiers in Retreat, 2014-2018

Warr, Tracey

Thompson, D’Arcy Wentworth, On Growth and Form, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992.

Stone, Christopher D., Should Trees Have Standing?: Law, Morality and the Environment, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010 (originally published 1974).

Skelton, Richard

Schwenk, Theodor – Wilkens, Andreas; Jacobi, Michael & Schwenk, Wolfram, Understanding Water: Developments from the Work of Theodor Schwenk, Edinburgh: Floris, 2005.

Schauberger, Viktor – Alexandersson, Olof, Living Water: Viktor Schauberger and the Secrets of Natural Energy, Dublin: Gateway, 1990.

River Runs – Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas, Tracey Warr & Giacomo Castagnola at Modern Art Oxford, 2012

Remote Performances – London Fieldworks with Tracey Warr and other artists Gilchrist, Bruce; Joelson, Jo & Warr, Tracey, eds. (2015) Remote Performances in Nature and Architecture, London: Routledge.

Pixelache Festival 2016: Interfaces for Empathy

Paz, Octavio, My Life with the Wave, 1949

Papadopoulos, Dimitris, Generation M: Matter, Makers, Microbiomes:: Compost for Gaia

Outdoor Swimming Society

Nikolic, Mirko, Copperlove

Narhinen, Tuula

Museum of Nonhumanity

Meanda – water novella by Tracey Warr (in English and French) and twitter fiction


McKay, Christopher, Planetary Ecosynthesis on Mars: Restoration Ecology and Environmental Ethics, 2007

Lopez, Barry, Arctic Dreams, London: Vintage, 2001.

London Fieldworks Gilchrist, Bruce & Joelson, Jo, eds., London Fieldworks: Syzygy/Polaria, London: Black Dog Publishing.

Lem, Stanislaw, Solaris, London: Faber & Faber, 1971.

Le Guin, Ursula, The Dispossessed, The New Atlantis, The Word for World is Forest …

Kenchington, Sarah, Euphonium at Sea


Itaranta, Emmi, Memory of Water, London: Harper Voyager, 2014.

Gooley, Tristan, How to Read Water, London: Sceptre, 2016.

Frontiers in Retreat

Huuskonen, Juha & Nurmenniemi, Jenni, eds. (2016) HIAP Helsinki International Artists Programme, 2015, Helsinki: HIAP.

Fishman, Charles, The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water, New York: Free Press, 2011.

Exoplanet Lot – organised by Maison des Arts George Pompidou, Cajarc, France with Tracey Warr, Tania Candiani, HeHe, Ludwig, Thomas Lasbouygues, Caroline Le Mehaute and Angelika Markul

Deakin, Roger, Waterlog, London: Vintage, 2000.

Cheever, John, ‘The Swimmer’ in Collected Stories

Canavan, Gerry & Robinson, Kim Stanley, Green Planets: Ecology and Science Fiction, Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press, 2014.

Bateson, Gregory, Steps to an Ecology of Mind, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.

Bataille, Georges, ‘L’informe’ in The Critical Dictionary, 1929.

Ballard, J.G., The Drowned World, New York: Berkley Books, 1962. Vermilion Sands, New York: Berkley Books, 1971.

Bachelard, Gaston, Water and Dreams, transl. Edith R. Farrell, Dallas: Pegasus, 1983.

Arnold, Bram Thomas Actions For & Against Nature

Museum of Nonhumanity seminar, Helsinki

 Meanda Cover
Saturday 24 September 1-5pm
The Museum of Nonhumanity, Helsinki
Seminar: Frontiers in Retreat & Zooetics: Non-human, Non-animal

Rock, water, mushroom. How far can we go in our definitions of ‘life’, and where might its extension take us? Human relationships with other species, other life, have already changed and evolved towards greater empathy and the notion of rights and legal standing. What might a next evolution of relationships amongst all life forms look like? The non-human, the non-animal; how can we get beyond binaries and taxonomies? How might notions of the discrete, which are so deeply ingrained in our assumptions and language, shift towards better understandings of symbiosis, mutualism, and interdependence?

In the HIAP-led five year art research project, Frontiers in Retreat, these questions are being raised in artists’ projects including recent works by Urbonas Studio, Tracey Warr, Mirko Nikolic, Richard Skelton and Terike Haapoja. In the seminar, Tracey Warr and Dionizas Bajarunas will present the mycelium Zooetic Pavilion by Urbonas Studio, which was inspired by J.G. Ballard’s fictional living plant technologies. Tracey Warr will talk about her water exoplanet fiction, Meanda, where water is one of the main protagonists. Mirko Nikolic will discuss his project Lives of Metals: ‘Copperlove’. Richard Skelton’s short film ‘In Pursuit of the Eleventh Measure’ (2016), will be screened.

The programme is co-curated by Jenni Nurmenniemi (HIAP; Frontiers in Retreat) and Tracey Warr (artist and writer, Frontiers in Retreat; Zooetics). The event will be moderated by artist, Professor Kira O’Reilly (Master’s Programme in Ecology and Contemporary Performance at Theatre Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki).


13–13:15 Introduction
Tracey Warr: Frontiers in Retreat & Zooetics
Kira O’Reilly, moderator: session programme
13:15 Mirko Nikolic: Lives of Metals: ‘Copperlove’ (2014–)
14:00-14:30 Coffee Break
14:30–14:45 Richard Skelton: ‘In Pursuit of the Eleventh Measure’ (video, 7 min) with an introduction by Tracey Warr
14:45-15:30 Dionizas Bajarunas & Tracey Warr: Mycelium Zooetics Pavilion
15:30-16:15 Tracey Warr: ‘Meanda’

The event is free. Further details: The Museum of Nonhumanity