Wanderer of the Deep
Maria Brænder in collaboration with the Scottish Association of Marine Science.
Maria Brænder is a Danish performance artist based in Copenhagen.
Currently, she is undertaking a practice-based PhD at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where she graduated with a BA (Hons) in Contemporary Performance Practice in 2017. Her practice focuses on devising and performing with a more-than-human-perspective through an experimental, interdisciplinary and collaborative approach.
Brænder is currently working on a project with a tentative title of Wanderer of the Deep in collaboration with marine biologists at the Scottish Association of Marine Science (SAMS). Researchers at SAMS are currently investigating Zooplankton ecology in relation to Arctic climate change. One of Brænders collaborative partners is Dr. Kim Last.
“As an ecologist, I am interested in the effects of human activities on marine organisms with a particular focus on chronobiology (or how organisms tell the time).
Over the last few years I have specialized in understanding the daily migrations of zooplankton which constitute one of the biggest daily migrations on the planet. These migrations are important for bringing carbon to the deep ocean floor, thereby buffering the effects of climate change. I apply chronobiological tools to visualize migration behaviors in different environments from fjord to open ocean.”
Copepods haul Credit: Maria Brænder
'A spoonful of copepods' Credit: Maria Brænder
Brænder recently joined a fieldtrip to Loch Etive in Scotland, with marine biologists from SAMS, to conduct net-hauls of copepods. Copepods, a type of zooplankton, are small crustaceans, typically only 1/2mm in length, that live in almost all water habitats throughout the world. Data from Loch Etive has revealed unexpected variability in behaviour and circadian clock gene expression. This means that there is a strong incentive to further examine zooplankton responses to climate change.
One of the objectives for the SAMS researchers is to determine the seasonal change in Arctic light climate (irradiance and spectrally) across a latitudinal transect in the Barents Sea and in two fjords (Billefjorden, Svalbard and Loch Etive, UK). To understand large scale ecosystem responses to climate change, the SAMS researchers need to mechanistically understand small scale, individual responses of key organisms driving marine ecosystems and their functional biodiversity.
Calanus-finmarchicus (Copepod) - Bjørn Henrik Hansen (Senior Researcher at SINTEF Ocean).
Through research exchange with the marine scientists and joint field trips to Oban (UK) and Svalbard (NO), Maria Brænder is exploring new ways of creating sonically inspired performances that build upon the latest research in marine biology. Informed by Brandon Labelle’s ideas of ‘Sonic Agency’, Brænder will combine findings with a variety of media including light, movement and electronically processed vocal sounds to create new works. These new works will also include a performance in collaboration with Faroese composer/performer Anna Katrin Egilstrøð. LaBelle poetically states in his 2018 text Sonic Agency:
“Can one craft a means of empowerment by way of sonic thought, a listening from below, in order to nurture the power of the unseen or the not-yet-apparent?” 
Brænder’s work has been presented across Scotland and Denmark and she has worked with artists/companies such as Cryptic (UK), Hotel Pro Forma (DK), Jenny Gräf (DK), Laboratory for Aesthetics and Ecology (DK), Laura Thompson (UK), Lea Porsager (DK), Lost in Sounds (UK), Nic Green (UK) and Radix Theatre (CA).
Image from Telling the Bees 2017-18 by Maria Brænder. Photograph: Urška Preis.
Brænder will continue to work with this fascinating research topic over the course of 2020 and 2021. Morimaru is looking forward to seeing the final configurations.
For more information on the artist and images of previous works visit:
More information on the copepod project at SAMS can be found at:
 LaBelle, B. (2018). Sonic Agency: Sound and Emergent Forms of Resistance. London: Goldsmiths Press, Page 9.