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Accepted Paper:

Of storms at sea: a threshold towards life  

Author:

Montse Pijoan (University of Barcelona University of Aberdeen)

Paper short abstract:

This paper focuses on the limit experienced by young people facing storms at sea when sailing on tall ships. A storm at sea weathered together, is a vivid and highly perceptive experience that meshes and touches every living being on board.

Paper long abstract:

Surviving a storm at sea is something etched in your memory: it will always be remembered. It is an overwhelming experience in which the relationship between the crew and the boat prevails. It is an act of truth for your crew, your boat and yourself in which everyone takes part, with their own responsibilities, without further explanation than the sharing of the experience.Sailing experiences lived as life paths of their participants, not only transform the youngsters, they also become part of them as a ‘time and a site of extreme attentiveness’ (Serres 1997). This threshold of tensions aboard develops a momentum in which impossibility permeates into possibility, and chaos and disorientation go back to the breathing and the flow of sailing, and to the breathing and flow of the participants.When the storm is over, or one is back on shore is when you realise that all the movement and energy absorbed, has touched you to the very core of your soul. Like the eye of the storm always adjusting its different pressures and in continuous movement, the young participants sharing this experience will remain open-ended and moved towards life. Storms at sea are then, not weathering extinction but capturing experiences of life in danger of extinction, intensities of flowing energy to remember when modern life seem to be defined by borders, marks or titles. Like storms, where initial tension subsequently vanishes into the medium, life experienced in this way is in a constant state of flux.

Panel Exti02b
For an anthropology of the limit II