the sea cannot be depleted is a spoken word and sound piece about the Solway Firth about a sense of place that comes with
the sea cannot be depleted is a spoken word and sound piece about the Solway Firth about a sense of place that comes with living with that estuary and about what has been placed under the surface of the sea.
It’s a wonderful new work by Wallace Heim, and here’s what she says about it:
An estuary is continual turbulence. The tidal forces of the open sea move hard against the higher regions of land, the regions from where maps are made. Those maps mark the two lands, split by the tides and softened by the imperative of rivers as they run to the sea. Maps can chart a channel, a changing sandbank, a buried ship, a danger zone. But they cannot show the restless pull of sea and wind. Or mark the intimacies between the life of the sea and the life of the land.
The tides of the Solway Firth are among the most turbulent around this island, a fast sweep from the Irish Sea into the soft sands of the rivers Esk, Eden and Nith. A line across the blank blue of a map etches the division between Scotland and England. The middle of that sea is not a place where humans can live, but we can find sanctuary in the unfolding of life in the tidal muds and in the migrations of the human imagination across the sea surface. The Latin word vastus described the immensity of the sea, its emptiness and its waste.The UK Ministry of Defence fired at least 30 tonnes of artillery shells containing Depleted Uranium into the Solway Firth, to test those munitions on behalf of an unnamed ‘Customer’. The firings began in the 1980’s from the Kirkcudbright Training Range in Dumfries and Galloway, and on land at Eskmeals in Cumbria. The date of the latest confirmed firings is not certain, possibly 2011 or 2013, and the license to test fire may be continuing beyond that date. The MOD have justified this illegal dumping of radioactive waste into the sea as being ‘placements’. Attempts to retrieve the shells have failed. Their locations are unknown. MOD scientific reports declare that there is no hazard presented to human military or civil populations from this dumping, or from the misfires or contaminated materials on land.
Composer & Sound Designer
Writer & Producer
Wallace Heim writes, researches and teaches in the median zone where culture, art and human performance meet nature, the other-than-human and ecological thought. In these conjunctions, new forms of human experience can emerge, new modes of understanding and action take shape.
Wallace’s work is to analyse the experience of these art works and social practices, to consider how these events shape their social and ecological contexts, and to develop critical frameworks appropriate to the experience of culture in the time of climate instability.
Her academic slant is philosophical, but she works across disciplines including performance and theatre studies, arts criticism, geography, politics and environmental studies.
Her current work is ‘the sea cannot be depleted‘, a spoken word and sound piece for online and radio broadcast about the sea, about how a sense of place evolves with the changing forces of the sea and about the military dumping of depleted uranium into the Solway Firth. Listen online at theseacannotbedepleted.net
With Prof. Pauline Phemister from Edinburgh University and Dr. Sarah Buie from Clark University, Mass., she has organised a series of four Councils on the Uncertain Human Future, on climate change, at Edinburgh. With Rev. Dr. Harriet Harris, they are organising another series later in 2018.
Her essay, ‘Theatre, conflict and nature’ for the Green Letters journal Vol 20:2016, is included in the Routledge book publication, Performance and Ecology. What Can Theatre Do? due out in 2018. The journal is behind a paywall and the book is exorbitantly priced. If you would like to read the essay, please get in touch.
Other current work is on rivers and identity; emotions; matter and movement.
In 2015, the Ashden Directory, which Wallace edited with Robert Butler, was awarded the The Nick Reeves Award for Arts and the Environment by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) Arts and The Environment Network, in association with the Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World (CCANW), in recognition of an outstanding contribution in the field of environmental arts.
She is on the Advisory Board for the publication series Performing Landscapes. She participated in the AHRC ‘Site, Performance and Environmental Change Network’; co-curated the conference/event BETWEEN NATURE; co-edited Nature Performed. Her first career was as a set designer in theatre and television, and, with others, she started the Gate Theatre, London.
The résumé.pdf lists works from these differing careers.
Front page images: research on River Frome, Bristol 2011; cover of Nature Performed, photo by Donna Dunn; tickets for Walden Night at Über Lebenskust, Berlin 2011
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