The history of human civilization begins with our primeval efforts to impose shape upon water. From irrigation to trade, dependence upon and mastery over water formed cities and then societies. Today more than ever, the way water is treated and distributed reflects our commercial values and our failure to coalesce as a global community (Glasgow). Bodies of water have given way to waters full of bodies, as well as bodies without water.


Jason deCaires Taylor (b. 1974) is a sculptor, environmentalist and professional underwater photographer. Taylor became the first of a new generation of artists to shift the concepts of the Land art movement into the realm of the marine environment.

His permanent site-specific sculptural works are predominately exhibited underwater in submerged and tidal marine environments, exploring modern themes of conservation and environmental activism. Over the past 15 years, Taylor has been one of the first to consider the underwater realm as a public art space and is best known for his numerous large-scale underwater “Museums” and “Sculpture Parks”.

Małgorzata Chodakowska is a Polish-born sculptor. She returns frequently to her “Stammfrauen” (loosely, “archetypal women”) sculptures of women, generally naked and carved in wood, and has also produced figures for fountains and competition pieces. 

Digital 3D artist Chad Knight is a senior 3D design manager at Nike. He posts a new photorealistic piece nearly every day on his Instagram account, mostly of giant, surreal, humanoid figures placed within stunningly realistic natural landscapes.

Pecheurs de rêve by Lucie Lom, installation for “Territoires imaginaires” in Les Moutiers en Retz, September 15-18, 2016. 

   Theater & Performance

Underway aboard historic sailing vessel Alma off the Hyde Street Pier in San Francisco, We Players shared episodes of the classic sea story The Odyssey in autumn 2011, in partnership with San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. Each performance took place during a three-hour sail on San Francisco Bay, as the cast and crew wove real-time line handling with Homer’s stirring account of weary seafarers setting sail for home.

Ophelias Zimmer, directed by Katie Mitchell, designed by Chloe Lamford, text by Alice Birch

The production was a major collaboration between the Royal Court and the Schaubühne Berlin and opened in Berlin in December 2015.

Rupert Goold‘s production of Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author — originally produced at Chichester’s Minerva Theatre in a co-production with Headlong Theatre — opened at the West End’s Gielgud Theare on September 15, 2008.

In Temple du présent: Solo for an Octopus by Stefan Kaegi, an octopus becomes the performance’s protagonist. The octopus often serves as a projection surface of human fears or is found as a monster that dwells in myths and adventure stories. It is a popular appetizer in Mediterranean cuisine and frequently used in experiments. In recent years, it has increasingly been sentimentalised as a mascot and oracle for football fans or as a symbol for multi-tasking. “Temple du présent” is an opportunity for spectators to experience quite a different encounter with an octopus. Placed in an aquarium on the theatre’s stage, the animal turns into the performance’s protagonist, and its behaviour is one of the main drivers of this performance’s dramaturgy and communication processes. In collaboration with: one octopus, Judith Zagury and Nathalie Küttel (ShanjuLab)

Water by the Spoonful is a play by Quiara Alegría Hudes. It won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. An imaginative play about the search for meaning by a returning Iraq war veteran working in a sandwich shop in his hometown of Philadelphia. The boundaries of family and community are stretched across continents and cyberspace as birth families splinter and online families collide. Water by the Spoonful is a heartfelt and poetic meditation on lives on the brink of redemption and self-discovery during a time of heightened uncertainty. 

Radeau Utopique by l’Ecole Parallèle Imaginiare, a project directed by Simon Gauchet

In July 2016, a fleet of rafts set out from Rennes to discover the island of Utopia, “the ideal society” according to Thomas More’s account of it, who invented this island in the 16th century. On board, a crew of artists, architects and scientists had the mission to discover this island. These rafts reached the sea through the Ille-et-Rance canal and the Rance river. During forty days on the water, the expedition stopped in eleven communes of Ille-et-Vilaine and Côtes-d’Armor, partners of the expedition, before sailing during 9 months and 21 days on the ocean.

One year later, the expedition landed in Saint-Malo before returning to each of the partner towns to tell the story of their discovery. This expedition gave birth to a show, an exhibition, a book written by the crew and a film directed by the filmmaker Clément Schneider.

Many Breaths (To Lift an Achor from the Sea Bed)

An anchor is a boat’s connection with the earth through the sea-floor. It creates a link between the floating fluid state above and the safety and security of terra firma below: holding a boat fast in storms, and keeping it in harbour. This work attempts to use a collective action to retrieve an anchor that has lain on the Long Island seabed for many years, covered in coral and weed. Deep Anatomy participants and members of the island community were be invited to fill plastic bubbles with their breath and attach them to a growing cluster of bubbles affixed to its shank. Thus, piece by piece, the individual breaths would lift the anchor from the sea-bed and return it to the surface.

Deep Anatomy, a regional cluster for the PSi21 Fluid States project /  Long Island, The Bahamas / 9 May 2015


AMA is a short film performed and directed by deep sea diver and underwater filmmaker Julie Gautier. The work follows Gautier through several uninterrupted minutes of underwater choreography, gracefully performed in the world’s deepest pool near Venice, Italy. She holds her breath as she uses controlled movements to twist and glide through the calm water, eventually rising up to the surface with the release of one giant air bubble.

The piece is titled after the Japanese word for “woman of the sea,” which is also the name for Japan’s traditional shell collectors. The film is a metaphoric nod to these united women, while also representing the relationship that connects women from all over the world.

Macbeth (Rekonstrucktion), Choreographed theater by Johann Kresnik based on William Shakespeare | Music by Kurt Schwertsik. Premiered in 2018 at the Großer Saal Musiktheater.

This production by the “enfant terrible” of provocative dance theater has, in the meantime, become a classic. Johann Kresnik created a furor when it was first staged in 1988.  Gaudy, while at the same time highly aesthetic is the best way to describe the work of the Austrian provocateur of the dance world with his take on adverse social and political trends. Kresnik’s Macbeth originated during the zenith of the Barschel-Pfeiffer affair in the Federal Republic of Germany in 1987 and poignantly illustrates the sanguinary battle for power. 

The House of Dancing Water was a water-based stage production written and directed by Franco Dragone. The show premiered in September 2010. As of 2020, it had been performed over 3,800 times and seen by over 2 million spectators. The production was located at the City of Dreams resort on the Cotain Strip in Macau. Over 90 gymnasts, circus artists, dancers, divers, actors, and motorcyclists were featured in the show. The performers worked alongside 160 production staff, technicians and professional scuba divers from around the world.