OPB13 Oceanic Performance Biennale (2013) Auckland, NZ

Aquabatics: a novel approach to oceanic performance

Sarah Jane Pell


This paper contributes new insights into aquabatics to derive novel methodologies for the design of future human-computer-interaction and diving or submersible technologies. Aquabatics combines the practice of Live Art with the protocols and technologies of Commercial Diving. Aquabatics is understood as a conduit towards pneumatoses a state of being where the biological body (with the aid of a breathing apparatus) “respires” in perfect synchronicity with the oceanic body. As such, performing aquabatics suggests that the sovereignty of the bio-political body is requiring of life support and yet also indistinguishable from the body of water. Such performance aspires to a kind of ‘aqueous trans-illumination’ thus flouting Virilio’s dispersions of pitiless art pointed at the so-called extreme acts of free-diving and related live art practices. As an adaptive strategy for human oceanic performance, aquabatics may therefore provide novel human factor considerations for designers, inventors and explorers working with vehicles and technologies supporting human life at depth with parallel implications for human spaceflight.

Singular body/aquatic actor and agency in Aquabatics adaptation design

Sarah Jane Pell and Florian "Floyd" Mueller


We expand notions of the body in drift to embrace the reconceptualization of the actor as inseparable from the flow of our fluid state – liquid and gaseous atmosphere – to explore interaction systems designs as an adaptive strategy for human oceanic performance. Exploiting the singular body/aquatic actor and agency model, Aquabatics may also provide novel human factor considerations for designers, inventors and explorers working with technologies supporting human life at depth with parallel implications for human spaceflight. Furthermore, we discuss the implications for the artists who will engage with these methods to advance oceanic performance.

OPB 2013 Oceanic Performance Biennale Flyer OPB 2013 Oceanic Performance Biennale Speakers OPB 2013 Oceanic Performance Biennale Program

OPB13 Official Program Theme "ISLE&", and Speakers including Sarah Jane Pell with Pacific Sisters. Auckland NZ, 22-24 NOV 2013

Oceanic Performance Biennale: Perform_Pacific_Ecology ISLE&

In this inaugural Oceanic Performance Biennial we explore: Isle&s of practice (customary and contemporary); Isle&s of thought (Oceanic and Western); Isle&s of cultures (Oceanic, European and Asian); Isle&s of disciplines (performance studies and design, architecture, performing and visual arts); Isle&s of modalities (performances, installations, panels and papers] and Isle& topographies or analogies. The Oceanic Pacific is a fluid continent assembled as a constellation of islands. This Oceanic is constantly in flux, as diverse and differentiated as its 25,000 islands, and as extensive and cohesive as Te Moana Nui a Kiwa: the vast connecting ocean. The structuring binaries of Western thought—represented by or, this or that, islands or sea—often establish islands as isolates: sites of exile that are dis-connected by the ocean. Pacific thought however may be characterized in relation to and, where islands and sea are interrelated entities that form a nodal network and space of interstitial flows. Islands are understood here as additive, connective and relational conditions and sites of exchange: an agential relationality signaled through the doubled “and” of the ampersand “&” (indicating intimacy, cooperation and alliance). Thus Isle& explores the ecologies—cultural, political, economic, biotic/abiotic—of Oceania and asks, through contemporary performance practices, how do you relate to your Oceanic world?

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The Inaugural Oceanic Performance Biennial focused on islands as sites of exchange and connection. OPB13, Auckland NZ, 22-24 NOV 2013.
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