Amsterdam — From 8:15 AM to 9:01 PM on August 10, New York-based artist and director Sarah Cameron Sunde stood in a tidal bay in Katwijk aan Zee on the west coast of the Netherlands for a full tidal cycle. Over this period of 12 hours and 46 minutes, the water rose to her neck and fell back down again. In this performance from her series 36.5 / a durational performance with the sea—which she began in 2013 and will continue around the globe until 2020—Sunde uses her body and endurance to call attention to rising sea levels.
The performance produces striking images as Sunde’s body becomes a point of reference against which changes in her surroundings can be measured. Citing Marina Abramović, Tehching Hsieh, Wim T. Schippers, and Bas Jan Ader among her influences, she stands still while the sun, weather, and water shift around her. People come to watch or participate, and the performance takes on new elements at each location.
Sunde began the performance series at the age of 36.5 in 2013 in response to the 10.5 foot tidal shift on the coast of Maine. Then she undertook the performance in Akumal, Mexico, and San Francisco in 2014. In addition to Amsterdam, she’s also performing the piece in Venice this year and she’ll be in Bangladesh in 2016. By the time the series concludes in New York in 2020, Sunde will have staged the performance on each continent in locations facing rising sea levels.