Submerged

Recently landed: Submerged, Gracia's written response to Salt, for Fjord Review

Like Whoville appears to the elephant Horton (Dr. Seuss, Horton Hears a Who!, 1954), a tiny speck, that’s how our planet looks from up high. In space, if you were to look down your trunk, earth is but a blue dot on a vast, dark blanket. On the surface of things, two thirds of our home appears as ocean, but this is only part of the picture. The earth is three-dimensional, not two, and so, in actual fact, our planet, our Whoville, is 99% water. The three dimensional volume, the biosphere, it extends down into the soil we stand upon, and over our heads, through the tree canopy and beyond. And out in the deepest point of the ocean, the depth is almost seven miles. To us land-based creatures, this is almost too much to fathom.

But cause and effect, we all understand. As the oceans warm, the marine biosphere changes as the water becomes less alkaline (as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere dissolves at sea). Together with marine pollution, the devastation of mining and gas development, the destruction of marine habitat, and unsustainable fishing practices, our cause and environmental effect: the ocean is under threat.

From plankton to humpback whale, what’s all this to do with dance?

Quite a bit, my call from a jukung, bobbing on the water, for though Eko Supriyanto’s
Salt is an introspective solo work, it is also about the threats facing Indonesia’s marine life. History, and the actions we take based upon the knowledge we acquire, shapes our future. In Salt, the third in Supriyanto’s Trilogy of Jailolo, still wet from its world premiere at deSingel in Belgium, the audience is invited to dive beneath the ocean surface. From my seat in the Sylvia Staehli Theatre of Dancehouse that is precisely what I did. I tipped my wobbly seat over, and dived in. When your home is an archipelago comprised of approximately 17,000 islands, what happens in the water is not to be ignored.

Eko Supriyanto’s Salt (image credit: David Fajar)