Miriam Sentler     




Performance Cairban: A Contemporary Shark Hunt at Looiersgracht 60, 2022. Copyright: Miriam Sentler/ LNDW Studio.








Cairban: A Contemporary Shark Hunt (2021-2022)


This work was developed during residencies at Knockvologan Studies (Isle of Mull, Inner Hebrides, Scotland and was presented during METEOR Festival Bergen (NO) and Archive Event VI: The Chase at Looiersgracht 60 Amsterdam (NL)

Thanks to Kari Furre, Miek Zwamborn and Rutger Emmelkamp, Dr. Clive Fox (Scottish Association for Marine Science), Basking Shark Scotland, Coastal Connections, Toril Johann

The project is generously funded by the O&O subsidy of CBK Rotterdam and the Gerbrandy Culture Fund.


     

(2021-2022) In collaboration with environmental humanities researcher Sadie Hale (UK/NO). Performance (0h20m), floor vinyl prints (150 x 80 cm), dibond print (150 x 100 cm), 5 newspaper hooks with artist publications (432 x 279 mm, 30 pages)


The work Cairban– A Contemporary Shark Hunt is rooted within an unsuccesful three-day wildlife spotting tour on the Atlantic Ocean, searching for the illusive Basking Shark. While shark-hunting has been banned in the Hebridean waters since 1994, the project showcases a contemporary endeavor of finding, stalking, and ‘shooting’ a shark – with a camera instead of a harpoon. Incorporating scientific research technology about the travel routes of plankton, witness reports, sea maps, and GPS tracking, Cairban comments on modern-day technologies used in wildlife spotting, now a practice fueling the tourism sector of the Scottish Hebrides instead of the oil industry. This advanced modern-day technology is contrasted by the disappointments and unmet needs of the crew, highlighting our unrealistic expectations towards animals within our ultra-econimical dealings with nature and the sea.  

The project is initiated by artist Miriam Sentler (1994, DE/NL) and environmental humanities researcher Sadie Hale (1992, UK/NO) and formed their first collaboration. The performance, which consists of the reading of a travel log in the middle of a “shark wheel”, is accompanied by the launch of a new artist publication. The newspaper The Cairban Gazette gathers different historical gazes on the Basking Shark, spanning from the 18th century until the present day. The front page features the news about the crew's own non-encounter, letting the shark ‘off the hook’ after centuries of being captured in newspaper headlines. The non-appearance was rooted within a historically bad year of Basking Shark spotting in the Hebrides, meaning that the sharks did not appear until the end of the season. The installation depicts the shark's surfacing throughout the ages; highlighting how it was seen as a sea monster, a dumb and slow animal, an industrial resource, and as an exotic visitor from India before it became the topic of a cruel sport in the 1930s and was finally protected as an endangered species in the 1990s. Throughout time, the shark was always portrayed in different ways, changing appearances like a shapeshifter - something that could be due to the large mouth of the shark, that deforms drastically once the fish is out of water or dead. The basking shark wheel consists of historical depictions of the Basking Shark, showing its evolution in the media throughout time and hinting to a mysterious swimming behaviour, which is largely unknown but believed to be connected to mating patterns and friendship rituals.





Cairban: A Contemporary Shark Hunt at Looiersgracht 60, 2022. Copyright: Miriam Sentler/ LNDW Studio.





Cairban: A Contemporary Shark Hunt at Looiersgracht 60, 2022. Copyright: Miriam Sentler/ LNDW Studio.




Cairban: A Contemporary Shark Hunt at Looiersgracht 60, 2022. Copyright: Miriam Sentler/ LNDW Studio.



Cairban: A Contemporary Shark Hunt at Looiersgracht 60, 2022. Copyright: Miriam Sentler/ LNDW Studio.



Cairban: A Contemporary Shark Hunt at Looiersgracht 60, 2022. Copyright: Miriam Sentler/ LNDW Studio.




Cairban: A Contemporary Shark Hunt at Looiersgracht 60, 2022. Copyright: Miriam Sentler/ LNDW Studio.



Cairban: A Contemporary Shark Hunt at Looiersgracht 60, 2022. Copyright: Miriam Sentler/ LNDW Studio.




Cairban: A Contemporary Shark Hunt at Looiersgracht 60, 2022. Copyright: Miriam Sentler/ LNDW Studio.




Cairban: A Contemporary Shark Hunt at Looiersgracht 60, 2022. Copyright: Miriam Sentler/ LNDW Studio.




Cairban: A Contemporary Shark Hunt at Looiersgracht 60, 2022. Copyright: Miriam Sentler/ LNDW Studio.




Cairban: A Contemporary Shark Hunt at Looiersgracht 60, 2022. Copyright: Miriam Sentler/ LNDW Studio.





© Miriam Sentler 2022