Miriam Sentler     

An oddly shaped stone looking like a shark fin outside of the Isle of Coll, Scotland. Photo credits: Miriam Sentler, 2021

CAIRBAN: A Contemporary Shark Hunt 

This work was made on the Hebridean Sea. A 3-day boat tour was undertaken within the context of a residency with KNOCKvologan (Isle of Mull, UK) and further developed during a residency at USF Verftet (Bergen, NO). The work was presented at KNOCKvologan (UK) and at Kulturhuset Bergen (NO) during Prøverommet/ METEOR festival. Thanks to Kari Furre, Miek Zwamborn and Rutger Emmelkamp, Dr. Clive Fox (Scottish Association for Marine Science), Basking Shark Scotland, Coastal Connections, Toril Johannessen, Laurie Lax and Alix Chauvet.

The residency in Scotland was generously funded
by the Gerbrandy Culturefund

Article the Outdoor Swimming Society - The Art of Swimming with Sharks


(2021-ongoing) In collaboration with environmental humanities researcher Sadie Hale (UK/PT). Audio performance, artist publication (432 x 279 mm, 30 pages)

The work CAIRBAN – A Contemporary Shark Hunt is rooted within a three-day sea journey on the Atlantic Ocean, searching for the 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, CARBAIN comments on modern-day technologies used in wildlife spotting, now a practice fuelling the tourism sector of the Scottish Hebrides instead of the oil industry. This advanced modern-day technology is contrasted by the ancient and rough nature of the sea, historical reports from Hebridean sharkers and the ways in which the ‘wild’ and mythical continues to exist and stay unseen within our ultra-surveilled and economical dealings with nature and the ocean. The project is initiated by artist Miriam Sentler (1994, DE/NL) and environmental humanities researcher Sadie Hale (1992, UK/PT) and formed their first collaboration.

The performance, which consisted of the reading of a travel log in the light of an oil lamp, 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 publication serves as a medium that gathers the shark's surfacing throughout the ages; depicting 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. The last page of the publication features a shark wheel 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 the mating pattern of Basking Sharks.

Documentation of the shark hunt, July 2021

Documentation of the shark hunt, July 2021

Documentation of the shark hunt, July 2021

Sampling plankton monsters together with Dr. Clive Fox at the Scottish Association for Maritime Research


Reading performance with Robert Carter at Bergen Kulturhuset during Prøverommet - METEOR festival. Image credits: Paulina Tamara

The publication The Cairban Gazette. Image credits: Miriam Sentler, november 2021

© Miriam Sentler 2022