This paper builds upon previous assertions that the ocean provides a fertile environment for reconceptualising understandings of space, time, movement, and experiences of being in a transformative and mobile world. Following previous articles that urged scholars to adopt a ‘wet ontology’, this paper presents a progression of, and a caveat to, these earlier arguments. As we have argued previously, the liquid materiality, motion, and temporality allows for new ways of thinking that are not possible when only thinking with the land”. This paper maintains that critical perspectives can be gained by taking the ocean’s liquidity to heart. However, it also questions the premise of this vision. For the ocean is not simply liquid. It is solid (ice) and air (mist). It generates winds, which transport smells, and these may emote the oceanic miles inland. Although earlier attention to the ocean’s liquid volume was a necessary antidote to surficial static ontologies typically associated with land, this is insufficient in light of how the ocean exceeds material liquidity. This paper thus explores what might emerge if, instead, one were to approach the ocean as offering a more-than-wet ontology, wherein its fluid nature is continually produced and dissipated.
Steinberg, P., & Peters, K. (2019). The ocean in excess: Towards a more-than-wet ontology. Dialogues in Human Geography, 9(3), 293-307. https://doi.org/10.1177/2043820619872886