Ocean’s Forms: Process, Structure, and Imagination at Sea

Void. Mirror. Sanctuary. Habitat. Drowned Earth. Saltwater country. These represent a tiny fraction of the ideas and images the ocean has been seen to express. This Sydney Ideas seminar gathered insights from philosophy, marine geoscience, art, and literature exploring how different ways of knowing the sea have informed one another, and how they might inform one another in the future.

Science can explain how waves activate oceanic forms, and how those forms affect lives, sands, reefs, and coastlines. Through poetry and art, it’s possible to witness how waves and other sea-structures have stimulated imaginations to move beyond the limits of the shore. Truly thinking past terrestrial boundaries requires new connections among ethics, natural science, and creative practice.


00:00   Introduction and Welcome to Country – Susan Reid
06:25   The Poetic History of the Ocean – Killian Quigley
18:55   Wave Formations and Coral Reefs – Ana Vila Concejo
31:55   Creation Represented in the Land – Brian Robinson


Dr Killian Quigley, Postdoctoral Fellow, Sydney Environment Institute
Associate Professor Ana Vila Concejo, University of Sydney
Brian Robinson, Contemporary Artist
Susan Reid (Chair), University of Sydney

A Sydney Ideas and Sydney Environment Institute event, held at the University of Sydney on Tuesday 8 May 2018.

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