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Q&A with Nina Katchadourian

In between her many travels, Nina Katchadourian sent us a missive in the form of an answer to a question. The image shown above, A Day at the Beach, 2001, is from a series entitled Sorting Shark as part of the Sorted Books project Katchadourian has been working on for several years.

Like the rest of the contributors to Mold: Ebb, Katchadourian joined us last October on S/Y Shearwater for the Re-Current event. She wrote a special sea shanty and had all of us onboard perform it in a round as we rounded Governors Island. Katchadourian's work (HERE) has dealt with the sea in various forms for many years now, see below her latest oceanic experience...

Can you tell us a little about your last experience with the ocean?

My last experience with the ocean would be right now, in that I am sitting and staring at it over the top edge of my computer. The Baltic Sea. It's windy, blowing southwest, and the air is still pretty cold although the sun is out. My brother has gone windsurfing but my wetsuit would need to be a few millimeters thicker, or I'd need to be less wimpy than I am, to go out there with him.

In February this past year I had an amazing experience with some creatures who live IN the ocean, however, in the form of the Grey Whales that come to mate and nurse their young in the San Igancio Lagoon in Baja, Calfornia. There were 250 whales in the lagoon the week I was there. We were brought out twice a day by local fishermen in their boats, and hung out seeing if any whales felt like getting close. Many did. Mother whales brought their young calves around one day; on another day we witnessed one female being chased by about 8 males (almost frightening; she took refuge near our boat to get rid of them a bit). On the very last day—in fact, in the last 15 minutes of my last boat ride on the very last day—one very friendly whale approached the boat I was in and let all of us touch, pet, and even kiss him. Grey Whales are warm, and velvety smooth, despite the barnacles. The one I met up close had the personality of a curious and mischievous puppy, and kept diving under the boat to surprise us all on the other side. I have no doubts that they were as curious about us as we were about them.

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