the birth of vertical shorelines

Where land and sea meet cannot be understood as Carl Schmitt’s concept of the shoreline anymore. Instead, we need an abstraction that matches contemporary notions of space. The shoreline rather appears where ‘land, water but also air meet’, as R.W.G. Carter remarks. Air, amongst other landscape and human features, pushes and negotiates the relationship between land and water. The weight of the atmosphere determining sea levels, a commonly accepted practice in barometric science, introduces a vertical dimension to the shoreline. The variability of its materiality contests the notion of territorial sovereignty, bringing other trans-boundary implications into play: radio broadcasting, transgenic pollination, agro-migration or epidemics.

The shoreline is no longer flat, but a four-dimensional construct with a multiplicity of thicknesses. It expands both in width and depth, changes throughout time (from a geological time to future flood predictions), and ranges from a microscopic scale to a macroeconomic realm. New gases are coming out of the seabed and new islands are emerging out of maritime volcanoes…


methane plumes

^ “It’s been predicted for years, and now it’s happening. Deep in the Arctic Ocean, water warmed by climate change is forcing the release of methane from beneath the sea floor. Over 250 plumes of gas have been discovered bubbling up from the sea floor to the west of the Svalbard archipelago, which lies north of Norway. The bubbles are mostly methane, which is a greenhouse gas much more powerful than carbon dioxide.”_[Michael Marshall, New Scientist]


new island Nishinoshima Japan 2013

^ 22 November 2013: Nishino-Shima, Japan. Image by AP via leaderspost



new island Balochistan

^ 24 September 2013: Zalzala Jazeera, Pakistan. Images by Pakistan National Institute of Oceanography via Smithsonian and projectavalon



^ 2013: Norderoogsand, Germany. image via kuestenforum


Zubair group islands_Yemen

^ 2007-2011: Zubair Group, Yemen. Images via national geographic


Home Reef_December 2006

vnir321_Home Reef_Tonga

^ 2006: Home Reef, Tonga. Images via ulb


kavachi volcano 3


^ 1939-2003: Kavachi, Solomon Islands. Image via 100curiosidadesdelmundo




^ 14 November 1963: Surtsey, Iceland. Images via wikipedia and earthobservatory




^ Geological Map of Miyake Jima Volcano, Geological Survey of Japan via wired




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