Performing Water: a sociology of free-diving

Sara Malou Strandvad (Denmark)
Roskilde University, Roskilde

photo_Shiv_interview_2This research includes a questionnaire that is open to all freedivers from around the world. To participate download this PDF [HERE], and email it to: malou@ruc.dk

 Experiencing ourselves in water, through free-diving, reconfigures our understandings of what we are capable of. Relaxing to perform under water reveals that body and mind cannot be separated, and that our bodily performances become reconfigured by the water; in some way this natural element ‘performs’ us and thus becomes a non-human actor. The project Performing Water is a site-specific sociological study that aims to trace emotions, sensations, and experiences of being underwater. The findings will be presented as a lecture performance at the Deep Anatomy Symposium.

The study has begun in cold Danish winter with a literature review and an auto-ethnography of introductory free-diving. Based on these theoretical and empirical inspirations, a number o hypotheses about the attractions of free-diving are established and will be tested at Long Island. To do so, interviews will be carried out with athletes and others interested in free-diving during Vertical Blue and the Deep Anatomy incursions. Based on this collection of stories of being under water, Strandvad will give a presentation at the Deep Anatomy Symposium delivering her ‘preliminary results’; bringing together her theoretical inspirations and empirical material to produce a ‘polyvocal’ sociology of free-diving.

Sara Malou Strandvad is a sociologist and associate professor at the program of Performance Design at the Department of Communication, Business, and Information Technologies, Roskilde University. She works at the intersections of sociology of art, cultural studies, organization studies, and with inspiration from science and technology studies. Her research has primarily been concerning a socio-material approach in cultural production studies. Other focus areas have been creative work, the notion of talent and aesthetic valuations. Besides her academic qualifications, Sara has been on the national Danish underwater rugby team since 2005.

A part of the programme for Deep Anatomy – a regional cluster for Performance Studies International #21 globally dispersed conference on Long Island, The Bahamas, April 26-May 10, 2015.

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