Laminaria – CNP IV
Miek and master printer Jo Frenken at work in the Charles Nypels Lab of the Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht.
We are large and ubiquitous, we sway and untangle, we are never made up of an I, we are we, Laminaria digitata, not a flock, a herd or a school, we are always legion, numerous and innumerable, a myriad spread, we stretch together, deeply entangled or waving separately in clumps of fleshy fingers.
We stand upright in the current, remain free of leaves without branch or trunk, beneath mirrors of water we wave, not sparse but amassed, sequins sprout from our main blades.
Our foliage is corrugated, our borders ruched. We are gelatinous. We are brown, in dim light we look black and on land, shellacked, sugared with purple.
We are gymnastically inclined, arise from stems, rapidly bear leaves that finger and fork. We crosshatch the sea, are latticed beings, we tolerate and close up and in, we are mild towards those that know us and leave us unharmed.
Dampen us, we have floats, we are accommodating by nature, we watch things happen, don’t intervene, we let be, we adapt, we can develop, this time is our time, this water our water. We follow the waves, are opportunists, we endure silt, penetrating rays of light, acidification and the air that dehydrates us at low tide.
We anchor ourselves to rocks, mark the coast, regulate the impact of the waves, swirling we advance unhurried, we unfurl, grow in breadth so that our crowns bathe in light. We propel the sea, releasing green weeds like salad leaves and hushing the red weeds that are afraid of the sun. We are a salty universe, an inverted wood.
We are perennials. We multiply, can count and measure, jellyfish planulae and polyps depend on us, we help reduce weight now that people are heavier, we keep airways free, we remove dental plaque and the remains of tumours.
Yet greedy ships beleaguer us, nets tangle up in us, people pulverize, crush and bite into us, but electric rays still seek their pray in us, flying fishes and abalone shelter in us and clownfish live in us.
Let our seas flow calm and cool, we grow brittle on land or become submerged, we want to sway, are unperturbable, we are legion.
text by Miek Zwamborn
translated by Michele Hutchison