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Media Seas of the High North Atlantic

As the UN are ringing in the Decade of Ocean Science and Development, ocean health faces dramatic decline on a global scale. An emergent transdisciplinary research field of so-called oceanic or blue humanities respond to this situation by challenging terrestrial-based knowledge structures. How can a regionally situated and combined media aesthetics and media ecological approach on what we here call the High North Atlantic contribute with critical perspectives to this budding field?

Image may contain: Water, Underwater, Hood, Cloud, Sky.

Photo: Kongsberg Maritime

The majority of the current blue humanities scholarship is geographically focused on the waters of the Pacific Ocean and the south and central regions of the Atlantic Ocean while largely ignoring what we here call the High North Atlantic. However, this northern and cold area is especially relevant due to its vulnerability to climate change with large fishing resources, and the world’s largest cold-water reef. The region is also challenged by significant expansion in maritime industries, especially oil, fish farming and deep-sea mining.

There has been little attention within blue humanities to questions regarding the mediation of ocean space. Map-making agencies, military and research institutions as well as new and old maritime industries face rapid technological innovations and real-time ocean monitoring systems employ a multitude of different sensing practices and techniques. Moreover, also other non-human agents, including oceanic species from mammals to planktons, partake in the complex mediation of marine life in their direct or indirect interaction with both humans and technologies. Our Collaboratory will develop a critical media perspective of these technological and multi-species interactions: how they make visible and perceptible various aspects of the ocean. It is our view that a combined media aesthetic and media ecological approach is needed in order scrutinize the ways in which ocean space is sensed, visualized and operationalized. We aim to explore how aqua cultures are constructed, and how technologies organize ways of seeing, sensing and comprehending the changing natures of the oceanic world. 


Over the two years of initial funding, activities will include a regular (online) reading group, the development of an edited volume that aims to further reinforce the theoretical and geographical framework of the Media Seas of the High North Atlantic through concrete case studies, a public symposium and workshop, as well as the development of a research grant application.

Published May 27, 2021 3:15 PM - Last modified July 1, 2021 12:06 PM