Aridity Lines


Aridity Lines is a five-episode podcast series commissioned by TBA21–Academy and co-produced with Radio Ma3azef. Conceived by Reem Shadid and Barbara Casavecchia as part of The Current III: “Mediterraneans: ‘Thus waves come in pairs’ (after Etel Adnan),” the series invokes the local ecological knowledge that delicately treads the porous borders between its land and water bodies around the Mediterranean sea. By scientific definition, an aridity line is a line that connects all points with the same average amount of annual rainfall. We are taking this drifting threshold that traverses times and human-made borders as a magnifying lens to read through the social, environmental, cultural, and geopolitical impacts of climate change.

Edited and hosted by Reem Shadid 
Introduction and credits voice-over: Jinane Chaaya
Sound editor: Moe Choucair
Produced by María Montero Sierra

Aridity Lines is commissioned by TBA21–Academy and co-produced with Radio Ma3azef. It was conceived by Reem Shadid and Barbara Casavecchia as part of The Current III: “Mediterraneans: ‘Thus waves come in pairs’ (after Etel Adnan).”
Episode 1: The keepers and the thieves of water streams 
with Jumana Emil Abboud

The first episode of the podcast series Aridity Lines features artist Jumana Emil Abboud, who takes the listeners along a “water walk” she took with Im Juma’a, an elder from the village of Ein Qiniya in occupied Palestine. The walk, narrated by Abboud, delineates the intertwined journey of water, earth, plants, trees, animals and people across time through various folktales from the area. It is annotated through a live interview with the artist by host Reem Shadid, to expand on key elements; such as the paradox between more-than-human and human land demarcations, the forms of ecological knowledges relative to water protection, and the possibility of narrating climate change and resilience through the angle of oral histories.

Episode 2: Blood in the Water: interspecies alliances in the Mediterranean Sea with Ala Tannir

In the second episode of Aridity Lines, my guest is Ala Tannir, an architect, researcher, and curator from Beirut, Lebanon. We focus on her work and research concerned with exploring the Mediterranean Sea as a space of resistance and possible interspecies alliances. Where Tannir maps out new currents of movement of jellyfish and humans at risk in the Mediterranean Sea. She connects the undefeated underwater species, which thrive in ailing seas where oxygen levels are low, with the movement (or the denial thereof of vulnerable human beings) above water to help us understand how the crisis of climate change and its effects on the Mediterranean and that of global forced migrations are not separate, but in fact driven by the same extractive forces.

Epsiode 3: On new seasons and constructed infertility with Cooking Sections

In the third episode of Aridity Lines, Cooking Sections (artists Alon Schwabe and Daniel Fernandez Pascual) delve into their research on climate emergency and its effects on human eating patterns, which they deploy to examine “systems that organize the world,” as they describe it. We focus on their long-term project Climavore, started in 2015, and their recent explorations of shifting seasons and regions in the Mediterranean area for their recent exhibition “Seasons Made to Drift” at SALT Beyoğlu, Istanbul. We discuss the relationship between climate change, aridity and fertility, water buffalos and their watering routes, bird language in northern Turkey, and the Mediterraneanization of the Black Sea.

Episode 4: Scarcity, Development Politics, and Corruption: Beirut’s Water Systems with Nadia Christidi

In the fourth episode of Aridity Lines, researcher, writer, and arts practitioner Nadia Christidi discusses water supply systems and water-mediated social relations in Beirut as an entry point into a better understanding of water scarcity or aridity in the Mediterranean as a hydro-social, rather than purely hydrological problem.

Episode 5: Violence, climate change, and shifting shorelines with Eyal Weizman
In the final episode of Aridity Lines, Eyal Weizman (professor of spatial and visual cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London, and the founding director of Forensic Architecture) recontextualizes his research on the aridity line, stemming from his 2015 book The Conflict Shoreline, and discusses how it can be understood today. Addressing issues of environmental colonialism and its entanglement with structures of violence, namely in occupied Palestine and the Mediterranean region, Weizman reflects on the use of scientific tools and inherited forms of knowledge in his work as well as reconsidering a futurity imbued with unconventional signifiers.
With the working title "Mediterraneans: ‘Thus waves come in pairs’ (after Etel Adnan),” the first stream of The Current III cycle is led by Barbara Casavecchia as a transdisciplinary and transregional exercise in sensing and learning with by supporting situated projects, collective pedagogies, and voices along the Mediterranean shores across art, culture, science, conservation, and activism.