First rendition of collaborative project from Waterybeings, a research duo consists of June Yu and Nele Brokelmann. Inspired by the idea of hydrofeminism and fascinated by the continuous Dutch negotiation with water, we decided to look into the relationship we have with the water in and around us. We take inspiration from ideas such as ancient Greek theory of humors (vital fluids that constitutes the making and breaking of bodies), scientific understanding and expression of estuary (where river and sea transition into one another that contains different watery environment), poetic and imaginative engagement with water as an element from different writers (Gaston Bachelard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Hasok Chang, Astrida Neimanis, Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, Thales of Miletus, Alice Oswald). We work with methods such as field research (we biked along the Maas to Hoek van Holland, drove to Maasvlakte 2, walked along the Maas between coolhaven and De Esch, took water samples in various locations and field recordings along the way), archival research (we visited and consulted Rotterdam City Archive about the history and development of the Nieuwe Waterweg).
While developing our fiction and narrative infused mode of engagement, we consulted with several experts to reflect on our methods and process. First we met with ecosoof Henk Oosterling who has been engaging with community centered education guided by his idea of do-thinking. Then we visited and explored community based theater practitioner Joost Dekker and Nike van Essen on how to create together with "audiences". Lastly we explored somatic tuning in to the water in our bodies and our surroundings with dancer and movement researcher Paulina Vogel.
These strands of explorations stream together into a site-specific audio walk along the Maas in central Rotterdam. The audio consists of four voice acting that inhabits different (imagined) timelines and field recordings as well as archival sound. In November 2022, we hosted two public trial walk sessions and with the feedback gathered and additional funding from Gemeente Rotterdam, we will develop the audio with sound and radio artist Joshua Thies, and professional voice actors. The project will conclude with an accompanying booklet and public walk sessions in September 2023.