And then one day, the urban landscape merged itself with the marine landscape; land became sea that became land.
With tides flooding the entire city, the sea would become an extremely important source of food. This situation eventually worsened an already serious problem: overfishing. Within months, the fish population had diminished dramatically, causing shifts in the delicate balance of the marine ecosystem. Some animal species were greatly favored by the new situation, while others almost disappeared. Since the tides deeply affected the commercial viability of vegetable crops and meat production, soon lack of food started to become a prominent problem. Slowly, local solutions to these new problems started to appear. People adapted their diets, tastes and daily eating routines.
After the decline of the fish population, jellyfish – the fishes’ former natural competitors – had taken over the waters. Eventually the abundance of the animal caused it to become a precious nutritional resource; as a consequence, some started to develop little workarounds or homemade devices to catch or hunt for their own jellyfish when the tide came. These traps and devices blended into the city’s landscape and routine: jellyfish-catching fences for big suburban houses, traps especially developed to be installed outside the windows of downtown buildings, traps replacing balustrades on balconies.
A few new daily rituals emerged, like setting up the traps before the tide, as well as checking them after the water was gone. Curiously, a handful of old behaviors also persisted, although changed to reflect the new situation: school children, instead of nicking apples, started nicking jellyfish. Neighbors started disputing about who owned the algae that had spontaneously grown on their shared garden.
This project was developed as part of the seminar “Devices for Alternate Realities” held by Gunnar Green and Willy Sengewald at the Hochschule für Künste Bremen in April-May 2011. This project was developed in collaboration with Luiza P.