Amphibious Trilogies

Talking Walking Swimming

Amanda Steggell
Hovedøya, Oslo 11.07.2018, 15.10hrs

High summer in the Nordic regions. A heatwave. Talking to Andrew on the phone while walking along the pontoon where my boat is tethered, I spot a large shoal of juvenile, silver mackerel fish swimming in columns very close to the pontoon, just under the surface of the water. I have the impression that I am looking down onto an aquatic version of a terrestrial motorway. I start to walk beside them.

The school of fish and my body are now moving at the same tempo. The shoal is so large that I can’t see where the columns of fish begin and end. 10m or 20m? The total body of fish is enacting a big organism on the move. Intermittently, the streams of fish swimming close to me make a 180 degree turn about. The others follow in line, like the motion of a snake or eel. A warning sign. A decoy. A survival tact. I turn about and follow them. This happens many times, enough that I feel in tune with the movement and flow of the whole body of the fish. An almost synchronised swimming and walking feat. Is this an example of an extending choreography? One of dancing across boundaries?

As they swim, the fish make traces in the water, V-shaped and spiralling ripples that create concentric circles as the water meets the pontoon. My footsteps are sounding along the planks of the pontoon. The audible steps are like tickers of time, each one lasting about two thirds of a second. By way of vibrational transference, they are sensed by the fish. My shadow follows fluidly along the pontoon, like compass dial, like bio dial, enabled by the sun’s radiation. Is choreography delimitated to human conceptual notions? I would like to say, yes! Of this, I am a little unsure.


Click & Drag: Rotate the view.
Right Click & Drag: Pan the view.