BBC Radio 3 Sunday Feature
From the programme website
“What does the tide mean, and could it be trying to tell us something? Multimedia artist Signe Lidén reflects on both ancient and emerging knowledge across disciplines and cultures that understands the tide as more than just a mechanical phenomenon.
While recording sounds on the dunes of an island off Denmark, Lidén was surprised by the rapid rise in sea level without being able to see the change from moment to moment. She has since devoted herself to studying the tide, recording an entire tidal zone using a 28-metre canvas as a microphone, and noticing the different sense of time she gets through close and extended listening. Could a deeper connection to the tide offer new ways of sensing and relating to the world around us, and help us to grasp the scale of environmental change that is happening in it?
Recent research has begun to show us how the tide influences life at a cellular level. Coastal organisms from sea-lice to shore-dwelling sheep have body clocks that are synchronised to the tidal schedule on their home beach. Could there be a resonant echo in our own bodies of this ancient circatidal mechanism? Is this something we can reconnect with, and what might this mean for our relationship with the oceans?
Coastal landscapes are places of between-ness and flux, where remnants of the past – a piece of driftwood or a dialect word – lie alongside the chaos and renewal of the constant ebbing and flowing of the waves. What might this teach us about living in times of loss and radical change?
Many indigenous cultures believe that personhood extends beyond humans to other entities. If we were all to relate to water as a living being, might it change how we move through the world? And is it fantastical to imagine the tide as the thought process of the ocean, creating life on Earth through repetitive rhythms unfolding over billions of years?
Lidén loves the way that the medium of sound captures the ‘constant becoming of a place’. As she listens to the interlocking rhythms of her recordings, and the perspectives of other tidal thinkers, she notices how her sense of her place in the world is shifting.
With contributions from biologist and writer Arjen Mulder, neurobiologist Michael Hastings, Shetland poet Roseanne Watt, historian and kayaker David Gange, and Grace Dillon, a member of the Anishinaabe and professor in indigenous nations studies.
Produced by Chris Elcombe
A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 3.
Field recordings and concept based on Lidén´s project The Tidal Sense, commissioned by Lofoten International Art Festival in 2019.”
Hear the programme here