bladderwrack (to be with the shore is all we ask), a fluid outpost of the intertidal zone of Lenapehoking (New York & New Jersey), is an embodied, research-based, participatory platform created and planned with the indigenous seaweed bladderwrack. It is hosted in the NYU Bobst Library in Manhattan and at tobewiththeshoreisallweask.care/bladderwrack. This platform digitally archives real and imaginative experiences, focusing on the enduring bladderwrack, an indigenous seaweed living within the intertidal zone between the low and high tide mark along Lenapehoking’s shoreline.
Since colonization, the urban coastal ecosystem has experienced neglect, alteration, landfill, and land grabs. The project underscores the intertidal ecosystem’s flexibility in confronting contemporary challenges while seeking a future where the vital shore holds decision-making significance and is valued as an integral component of an urban island rather than subjected to harm and disregard.
We invite YOU to become a beta tester in this effort to bring the coastal ecosystem into your home through this interactive intertidal interface. Follow the text-video log, a record of time and space at the intertidal zone with bladderwrack, played out in July 2023, the hottest month on record.
The quasi-personal text-video Log Book unfurls artist andrea haenggi’s participation with bladderwrack and bladderwrack’s voice at the Marsha P. Johnson State Park shoreline in Brooklyn, NY. Additionally, the log book includes urban ecological information, image descriptions, and questions, allowing beta testers to tell their shoreline stories.
Against the dire backdrop of rising ocean temperatures and the heat-induced expansion of seawater leading to elevated sea levels, this interaction underscores the pressing need to listen to the dynamic shoreline, where in low tide it is land. In high tide, it becomes sea.
This work is part of andrea haenggi’s 10-year ongoing project called “to be with the shore is all we ask”, which started in 2021 in response to the city’s waterfront plan of the transformation of the shoreline. Rather than working with the nature “that is here,” the city and government’s plan is human-centered. Still, it prioritizes destruction, hardening the shoreline, further destroying shoreline ecosystems, and grabbing more land from the sea.
The project is an urgent call to (re-)connect with the ebb and flow of our shoreline and the more-than-human beings that live there (and could live there) to find pathways for multispecies communities that can thrive and be flexible.
Contribute to the shore’s revitalization with your offerings. To be with the shore is all we ask!
The work is created by andrea haenggi + bladderwrack and in collaboration with artist/web developer Dan Phiffer, creative and accessibility consultant mora williams, and dramaturge Tanya Marquardt, and through the NYU/Tisch This Is Not A Drill Community Research Fellowship.
This research work is created on the unceded lands in Lenapehoking (Brooklyn, NY), the homeland of the Lenni-Lenape People, and the Canarsie and Munsee Nations. The artist underlines that, “We stand for the protection of these territories and offer this work as a gesture of care to all of our relations, past, present, and future.
If you are not currently aware of the rightful keepers of the land you are located in, you can learn more at www.native-land.ca. Beyond simply acknowledging the colonial histories of the land on which you are located, we encourage you to take concrete steps towards decolonization by learning more about how you can support Indigenous communities in the fight for sovereignty.
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