Breaking the Surface: The Deep Sea


In a studio posited to explore the deep sea, a narrative emerged about breaking the surface – of space, self and language. And breaking with any traditional format, it reads as follows:

I was born in the depths of the Marianus Trench in the turbulent waters of the Western Pacific. At 36,000 feet below the water’s surface, my home trench reaches deeper than most. I spent many happy days, years, eons in my home trench. Time was a delightful continuum and spread out in all directions, like the waters that passed through me, like myself. I didn’t separate or categorize, label or compartmentalize. All was one, you see, and I was simply a distortion in space. To you, today, I would seem like nothing more than an outline of a creature, a loose thread loosely encircled, delineated me. Go out, dip your hand in the water and cup your fingers over your palm, and then you might begin to understand my relationship with the waters; the freedom I felt at not being caged in by a discreet form. After all, I was just some water, surrounded by more water, and you can then imagine my oneness with it all.

Later, warm currents plucked me out of my comfortable depth and flung me into the waters. I searched for my home trench for many years. In my travels I climbed down into the depths of Idzu-Bonin Trench off the coast of Japan at 32,907 feet deep, the North Solomons Trench reached 29,987 feet deep, the Palau Trench 26,706 feet deep, the Mindanao Trench, an impressive 32,907 feet deep and countless others. It took centuries before I located my home trench, and then it was only with the help of the humans. Well, not directly, but once they had knowledge of its whereabouts, the information trickled to me too, through the marine specks that perennially flow through me.

In the deep sea, space is so vast that it is poignantly intimate. I know most parts of its waters before leaving my home trench. With my mechanoreceptors and the continual snow, I need never have moved, but I couldn’t argue with the currents.

And of course, I would never have met the “hopeful monster.”She was all mouth, but I couldn’t understand a word of what came out of it, except that anything around her went in!

La-nceput pe cînd fiintã nu era nici nefiintã,

Pe cînd totul era lipsã de viatã si vointã,

Fu prãpastie? Genune? Fu noian întins de apã?

N-a fost lume priceputã si nici minte s-o priceapã,

Cãci era un întuneric ca o mare fãr-o razã,

Dar nici de vãzut nu fuse si nici ochiu car sã o vazã.

Umbra celor nefãcute nu-ncepuse-a se desface,

Si în sine împãcarea stãpînea eterna pace!…

Dar deodat-un punct se miscã… cel întîi si singur. Iatã-l

Cum din chaos face mumã, iarã el devine Tatãl…

Punctu-acela de miscare, mult mai slab ca boaba spumii,

E stãpînul fãrã margini peste marginile lumii…

De-atunci negura eternã se desface în fãsii,

De atunci rãsare lumea, lunã, soare si stihii…

De atunci si pînã astãzi colonii de lumi pierdute

Vin din sure vãi de chaos pe cãrãri necunoscute

Iar în lumea asta mare, noi copii ai lumii mici,

Facem pe pãmîntul nostru musunoaie de furnici;

Microscopice popoare, regi, osteni si învãtati

Ne succedem generatii si ne credem minunati;

Musti de-o zi pe-o lume micã de se mãsurã cu cotul,

în ãcea nemãrginire ne-nvîrtim uitînd cu totul

Cum ca lume asta-ntreagã e o clipa suspendatã,

Cã-ndãrãtu-i si-nainte întuneric se aratã.

Precum pulberea se joacã în imperiul unei raze,

Mii de fire viorie ce cu raza înceteazã,

Astfel, într-a vecinciei noapte pururea adîncã,

Avem clipa, avem raza, care tot mai tine încã…

Cum s-o stinge, totul piere, ca o umbrã-n întuneric,

Cãci e vis al nefiintii universul cel himeric…

In the great vastness she had the audacious ambition to create something. And so she gathered members of luminous specks. She nursed and groomed and vigorously maintained her congregation atop her pinnacle with much caution lest they turn on her. She claimed that her light brought hope in the vast darkness; she claimed a spot of space as her own and apparently all else revolved around this inflicted light – a powerful center. She was very proud. And I admit that I was fascinated and watched for a long time until she also stole a part of me. The part that remained masochistically wanted to stay with the angler. After all, once I had seen the light it seemed somewhat lonely to return into the darkness. But I finally retreated and watched from afar as pockets of space collapsed under her growing power.

in my youth;

space is sparse, eyes blink restlessly.

and then there was I,



and i want it all saturated, brimming with intensity


forgotten by those that don’t know space and don’t feel

the passage of time as it grazes my cheek in prime youth.


houses burn and you pass by


to those things of grave importance.


But i smelled lilac on the walk home.

and i

am as slow as honey

savoring, dipping down and immersing myself in your


thick as my spit, troubled glances;

your blinks and sighs.


in my youth, i died young.

and long

was the passage to now –

through the thick shallow waters

when all peels off and all lines up

in front of me

like little soldiers on the bright march morning



i shoot them all down

on by one

and they all become one. but that too, like my youth,

doesn’t last, and


they peel it off

(off the oil stained concrete and

reconstruct what was always unnaturally constructed)

delaminated space, forgotten space.

I traveled to my home trench where things remained the same, uncontaminated by the possessive light. At times I still have nightmares about the hopeful monster. But then I wrap the waters around me and take comfort in the darkness without pretentions to signs and symbols and centers of light.