“To imagine ourselves as bodies of water is to stage a clubhouse break-and-enter, a direct-action protest that floods up from the basement….. figuring ourselves specifically as bodies of water emphasizes a particular set of planetary assemblages that asks for our response right now.” - Astrida Neimanis, Bodies of Water, Posthuman Feminist Phenomenology (2017).
The Datan algal reef which expands approximately 27 kilometers along the Taoyuan coastline in North-western Taiwan has been home to abundant, rare, endemic marine and coral species for centuries. Industrial pollution, most recently the Chinese Petroleum Corporation of Taiwan’s construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) port in 2019, has threatened the topography and ecosystem of this exquisite algal reef. Taiwan’s environmental activists, the water resources conservation union and Academia Sinica’s Biodiversity Research Center, have all been calling for urgent actions to save the algal reef, #Taoyuanalgalreefs.
The WATERIA work station brings together researchers of ecoacoustics, ecoinformatics and marine biodiversity studies with citizen action groups for a clean water act, investigators in water pollution and field artists in collecting natural sounds to focus on ‘sampling’ the waters around Taoyuan’s algal reef areas. By monitoring the water flows and living creatures, by sampling and analyzing the ocean water’s chemical toxicities and acidification, WATERIA takes a methodical approach to collecting the bio-data of water and underwater micro-macro-organisms.
John Cage’s composition Water Music (1952) which calls for a solo pianist, using also radio, whistles, water containers, and a deck of cards has been interpreted in various ways by different musicians since its release. “If we were to continue to divine water in the arts, it would necessarily invoke an ecological self-consciousness, including the nature of the body, where materials and techniques themselves become political” - Douglas Kahn, Noise, Water, Meat (1999). WATERIA further invites sonic artists to render collected water data into transmittable S.O.S. signals, calling for public awareness on urgent water rescue actions.