Baltic sea in Estonia by Karl Kaisel
Growing up not far from the Baltic sea I used to take walks on the shore. Now I don’t have this opportunity anymore, but it’s still on my mind and a part of me. Whenever I have a chance I return to the seaside and spend hours looking out to the water whether it be calm in the evening light or stormy and grey on a cloudy autumn day. It has so many faces and nuanced moods that it feels like it is alive. It's not only me staring at the sea.
If you gaze for long into the sea, the sea gazes also into you.
What does the sea see?
We, humans, see the world through our eyes. It's an anthropocentric view on the world strongly influenced by our ideas, feelings and our focus on ourselves. We are surrounded by beings and objects who experience their surroundings differently, without any regard to the concepts humans have made up. To be more understanding and caring for others, it’s useful to let go of our perspective for a moment and put ourselves in the position of others. What surrounds us is a complex world of relations that exists with and without humans. By changing our perspective we can shift the focus on the sea and its wellbeing. Not to take it for granted. Instead, taking a moment and reflecting on the fact that humans are not the center of the world and we are not superior over what surrounds us.
The human history around the Baltic sea is rich and turbulent. It has seen the borders and nations change hundreds of times. Different ideologies coming and going, war and peace, human misery and happiness. The Baltic sea stayed neutral in the middle of all this, passively observing without intervention.
For the artist residency I plan to construct a camera lense that uses Baltic sea water as a filter that distorts the view of the world, giving it another, less human-centric perspective. Looking at the humans and the environment that we have created from the perspective of the sea. As it is seen through the seawater lense — distorted and blurry — it lacks defining features that humans use to distinguish borders, nations, ideas. I plan to explore the areas where the sea meets humas. Ahrenshoop would be a great location for this project because the people there have been living right next to the sea for centuries. Therefore the sea has had a long time to see and observe human activities. I would photograph humans, buildings and objects that can be seen from the sea.These analog photographs would be developed using a developer made from a type of seaweed, bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus) collected from the Baltic sea to give the sea another chance to have its influence on the outcome. The end result is an experimental photo series with focus on the process of creating photos of the human world as seen by the sea.