Embracing the Abyss: Kinship with the Unknown

A significant part of my work has focused on the relationship of humans to nature, which I see as fundamental to approaching current global social and environmental challenges. Key to this is considering how we relate to more than humans, and to the complex interrelations among them/us, and that make ecosystems. This emotional, relational stance means seeing other species and elements as relatives, with their own rights and wills, to whom this relationship must be equally beneficial.

This approach defies bias and learnt behaviours that can arise when dealing with those that are different or unrelated for any reason, including more than humans and within humans, as well. In this context, the Deep Sea is one of such cases and a potent embodiment of this difficulty: of those that are known and unknown, with their own rights and issues, and whose distance and invisibility may make it more difficult to build rapport with. I see this as an opportunity to practice the relational commitment I have with the Ocean, to explore how our bond can be fortified through work, and to share this practice with others. This is how the text “Embracing the Abyss: Kinship with the Unknown”, included in TBA21-Academy’s Ocean Archive Journeys for the 2023 Fall semester “Culturing the Deep Sea: Towards a common heritage for all-kind”, came into being.

By Lígia Oliveira