A Celebration of Time and Tide at Hallett’s Cove Beach
On September 14, on the shoreline of Hallett’s Cove Beach off Vernon Boulevard, where Astoria meets Long Island City, the ninth and final stage of Sarah Cameron Sunde’s 36.5 / A Durational Performance with the Sea took place. Described by Sunde as a minimalist work comprising three elements—the artist, the sea and a red dress—the event draws attention to how we are globally connected by and through water.
The New York Estuary, and Hallett’s Cove in particular, was specifically selected for the ninth and final stage of Sunde’s global celebrations of the ocean, which began in 2013 shortly after Superstorm Sandy, including events in Brazil, Kenya, New Zealand and Bangladesh. After considering several sites in New York City, The Cove was chosen because the site provides easy access to the waterfront, has relatively calm and clean water, and boasts an unobstructed view of the NYC skyline. Sunde also stressed that the Astoria community has contributed to the project with its Kin to the Cove initiative that seeks to connect local residents to the site, building kinship with the area’s wildlife.
At each site, Sunde stands in the water for a full tidal cycle, in this case from 7:27am to 8:06pm New York time, and invites participants to join her in the water as she remains as silent and still as possible, “opening herself to what the sea has to say.” The entire event was filmed in real time, with footage of the project livestreamed internationally and global satellite performances taking place simultaneously in other parts of the world.
Sunde hopes the culmination of the performance has a lasting impact on how communities can be brought together by building kinship with the water. After all, the waters around New York City, the area called Lenapehoking by the local Indigenous peoples, had been shepherded and stewarded for over 10,000 years before the discovery of the New World. A Durational Performance with the Sea is a reminder that our relationship with the water has to be celebrated and honored if we are to see Time and Tide for another 10,000.