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Deep Anatomy
Dean's Blue Hole, Long Island, Bahamas


Deep Anatomy coincides with the Vertical Blue 2015 freediving championship, April 26 to May 10 2015. As Deep Anatomy progresses, each of its three acts will introduce new researchers and presenters into the cluster, for incursions in the environment, culminating in a two-day symposium  after the Vertical Blue competition has closed.
April 26 (Day 0) Athlete registration, Deep Anatomy Keynote #1, Phase 1 starts
April 27-29 (Days1-3) Vertical Blue Act 1
April 30 (Day 4) Athlete break, Deep Anatomy incursions, Keynote #2, Phase 2 starts
May 1-3 (Days 5-7) Vertical Blue Act 2
May 4 (Day 8) Athlete break, Deep Anatomy incursions, Keynote #3, Phase 3 starts
May 5-7 (Days 9-11) Vertical Blue Act 3
May 8 (Day 12) Athlete Break
May 9-10 (Days 13-14) Deep Anatomy Symposium
free diving, extreme sport, ecology, fear, terror

This cluster uses the unique geography of Long Island (The Bahamas) and the Vertical Blue freediving championship ('the Wimbledon of Free-diving', NY Times) as a site for provocative intersections between the local community, freedivers, and performance studies academics. The programme and curation of the event examines performance and freediving as integrated processes: where action and intellect combine, and a 'deep anatomy' occurs. This key theme applies Richard Sennet’s discussions on craft to the work of the athlete and the artist, where a physical act or process is invested with deep ethical values through material consciousness and care-full action.

  • Freediving: is a highly specialized sport where athletes test their aquatic potential in a variety of disciplines. Over the 25 years since it was popularized by Luc Besson’s film The Big Blue, the limits of the sport have been extended unimaginably. Recognized by New York Times as ‘the Wimbledon of freediving’, the Vertical Blue competition has presided over world records and national records for athletes from all over the world since 2008. For Deep Anatomy the freediving athlete is considered as an exemplary combination of scientist and artist, using rigorous testing and study of the unknown, culminating in a ‘risk-act’ that extends the limits of human potential and challenges familiar cultural attitudes.
  • Long Island: provides unique conditions for freediving, in the world’s deepest underwater cenote at Dene’s Blue Hole. Here divers step off a sheltered beach into water that plummets dramatically to 206 metres. By locating the event in a place such as Long Island, there is a proximity to and a distance from Western culture that will emphasise certain paradoxes. In these islands (Baha-mar, “shallow sea”) of flat unthreatening depths and long sands, the sudden abyss of Dean’s Blue Hole is an invitation to look beneath the surface of things, and dive into places beyond the reach of breath. The surrounding landscape and culture of the island is included in the Deep Anatomy event, providing an array of sites for investigation and encounter between athletes, academics, the local community, and the environment.
  • Deep Anatomy: is an extended process that runs for 14 days, with individuals welcome to join the process at any time. The first 11 days will use Vertical Blue as an incubating space for the generation of meaningful dialogues and collaborations between three key groups (the local community, athletes, and performance academics). Dialogues and narratives that have developed over this time will then have opportunity to go further in the ‘deep anatomy’ symposium once the competition is finished. Rather than bringing a conference format into this environment, the aim is instead to engage with the ‘genius loci’ of Long Island. Thus, Dean’s Blue Hole and the many spaces of the island will be used as ‘sympotic’ environments, where shared activities will generate numerous dialogues and discoveries. The programme resists defining these activities as touristic ‘excursions’, and rather will use them to seek out discursive insights and dialogues: initiating ‘incursions’ into the various ecologies of the island, and ‘incursions’ into a deep anatomy.

By engaging with a so called 'extreme sport’ it will be possible to look at an activity that society marginalises and defines as dangerous with this label. The cluster attempts to discuss a contemporary condition that is preoccupied with physical limitations and irrational mental constructs such as fear and terror, recognizing the pervasive impact this has across society. Freedivers disregard these inhibitors in order to reach great depths, conquering considerable mental and physical boundaries to redefine the limits of human performance. An alliance with this sport helps the performance studies community to critique the limitations that are imposed on our physical and mental lives by the performance cultures that we inhabit.
The Deep Anatomy cluster consists of three cumulative phases that coincide with the three ‘acts’ of the Vertical Blue 2015 freediving competition. As the event progresses, each phase introduces new researchers and presenters into the process, culminating in a two-day symposium after the Vertical Blue competition has resolved. Applications are welcomed that respond to the concepts, and structure of the event: a format that reconsiders academic modes of presentation in order to embrace the specifics of place, cultures, and disciplines involved. In this way the ‘Incursion’ is proposed as a model of interaction and presentation for all proposals, defined as “a research process located within the given terrain that resists touristic/aesthetic preoccupations to dialogue with the space and its cultures through conversation, action, inter-action, presentation, construction, demonstration, exploration, and performance”. Proposals can be for 15 days, 11 days, or 7 days, (see Phases outlined below) engaging with either the local community, the ecology and landscape of the island, or the freediving sport. In the final 'Deep Anatomy Symposium' dialogues and findings from the various incursions will be shared amongst all participants. A peer-reviewed publication of the Performance Research journal (provisionally titled 'On Sea, At Sea', Issue 21.2) will aim to publish some of these dialogues, processes, and outcomes developed in Deep Anatomy.

April 26 (Day 0) Athlete registration, Deep Anatomy Keynote #1, Phase 1 starts
April 27-29 (Days1-3) Vertical Blue Act 1
April 30 (Day 4) Athlete break, Deep Anatomy incursions, Keynote #2, Phase 2 starts
May 1-3 (Days 5-7) Vertical Blue Act 2
May 4 (Day 8) Athlete break, Deep Anatomy incursions, Keynote #3, Phase 3 starts
May 5-7 (Days 9-11) Vertical Blue Act 3
May 8 (Day 12) Athlete Break
May 9-10 (Days 13-14) Deep Anatomy Symposium

Phase 1: April 27 -May 10 (15 days participation, 20 people maximum)
Phase 2: April 30 -May 10 (11 days participation, 20 people max added to Phase 1 numbers)
Phase 3: May 4-10 (7 days participation, 20 people max added to Phase 1+2 numbers)

Call for Participants, Visitors and Travellers is available here now.

Call for Participants asks for -

1. Name / proposal title / planned duration of participation / affiliations
2. Proposal 500 words, introducing and describing the contribution you would like to make to the Deep Anatomy project, as described above and on Page 4.
3. Biography 200 words, outlining relevant research interests and outputs.
4. 4 images at 1MB maximum each, for the proposed work, previous works/projects, and/or
relevant precedents and reference material.
5. Multimedia (optional) links to Youtube, Vimeo, or WeTransfer files.

Where: theplaygroundnz@gmail.com
When: applications close 31 October 2014
Notification of selection will be sent out by: 14 November 2014
Registration will open from February 2015 on www.theplaygroundnz.com

Call for Local and Visiting Correspondents available here.

Director – Sam Trubridge
Director of Suunto Vertical Blue – William Trubridge
Associates – David Goldthorpe, Jen Archer
Sponsors – Suunto
Sam Trubridge





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Tags: Environment Ecology and Performance  Identities Bodies Corporealities in Performance   Performance Studies in the Americas   Phenomenology and Performance  Space Place and Performance   

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