Accepted Paper:

Winding rope, harmony and memory, in the dynamics of the North Sea  


César Enrique Giraldo Herrera (Leibniz-ZMT Centre for Marine Tropical Research)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the notion of harmony and the conformation of animated bodies through ropemaking and its articulation with seafaring in the North Sea.

Paper long abstract:

Rope at sea was and is still the line to lives and livelihoods, many practices and superstitions act under the presumption of its capacity to retain a sort of physical memory and intentionality. Ropemaking, in the Nordic context, has been traditionally associated with magic, with the ability to bind wills: conjure winds, summon fish, call fishermen or merchants back home. The language of seafaring and its understanding of the sea are tightly spun with words which share roots with ropemaking. These powerful connotations can be unravelled examining the craft of ropemaking, from the fermentation of bast fibres to the spinning and laying of rope. This process entails an insight into harmony, in the Heraclitean rather than the Platonic sense, the way in which homology can be achieved through divergence, and an organism (physical or political) united through the intertwining confrontation of intentions.

Panel P02
Whirls of organisms: forms and movements of life