As is the Sea

…A solemn King surveys an incoming tide, archival trawling pulls up Turner’s gurnard-turned-monster, and on a Portuguese shore devilfish are served up for lunch. Bridget Riley’s paintings hide the ocean in plain site, lost pearls are reclaimed on a literary dive, and a Black Sea sanatorium is a site for the contested politics of leisure…
As is the Sea is an anthology of texts written by Critical Writing in Art and Design students at the Royal College of Art. This pocket book – encompassing memoir, art criticism, fictional narrative, drama and cultural analysis – draws us through the ocean’s strata, from the sunlit surface to the darkest abyss. With a foreword from Philip Hoare and nine illustrations, including a postcard insert, from students and alumni of the Royal College of Art.


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Lucy Hughes BiddleTrawling for Fish 1/4:
'On the seashore vision can become distorted. When you bend down over a small shape in the sand, or lean in to examine a creature in a rock pool, the object fills your sight, becoming a whole world in itself.'
Sean StokerA Prospect of the Sea:
'It wasn't until 2008, somewhere in the hazy boundary between late summer and early autumn, that I actually noticed the sea.'
Jay McCauley BowsteadBridget Riley: The Sea and the Sublime:
'Sparkling, luminescent rhomboid reflections, systematised impressionism, deconstructed pointillism.'
Giulia DamianiLa Passerella: Ways of Accessing the Sea:
'The sand on the shores of the Adriatic Sea is usually soft and extremely warm to your feet. Sometimes it can be unpleasantly hot, especially during the sticky days of an Italian summer.'
Liza PremiyakSea-sick:
'As I stir whirlpools in my tea, my mother asks about my plans for summer. It's something I hear every year, phrased curiously as: 'How long until you return to the sea?''
Renyi NgSalty:
'Flat greyish beach. Blazing light. Sound of sea.'


Lucy Hughes BiddleTrawling for Fish 2/4:
'In the Victoria and Albert Museum, in a cabinet in the Medieval and Renaissance gallery, lies a fish.'
James A. HollidayThree Encounters with King Canute - the Eleventh-century Ruler of the Anglo-Scandinavian Empire:
'This has been a long-standing, drawn out, almost twenty-year relationship. Entirely one sided and unreciprocated. 1000 years too late for a conversation...'
Cecily McNamaraThe Pearl:
'My grandfather, who collected pebbles from the beach to polish until they shone, then mount on rings or pendants, as presents for his daughters, also gave each of them gifts in battered leather cases.'
Rhiannon FlemmingFarewell to Nova Scotia:
'Next to my bed is a picture of my mother.'
Emily BeberDrawn:
'He takes a cigarette, puts it to his lips and pulls. It is damp; sea dragged through tobacco.'


Lucy Hughes BiddleTrawling for Fish 3/4:
'In Moby-Dick Ishmael helps us to comprehend the sheer enormity of the sperm whale through a series of gargantuan comparisons.'
Elizabeth RigganHatching:
'The Great Lakes State, as it's known, is surrounded by bodies of water, but Michigan couldn't be further from the sea.'
José da SilvaThe Devilfish: A Story of the Slandered Octopus:
'Just before dusk we set out to the secluded Praia da Ursa (Bear Beach), named after a large outcrop of rock, distanced from the cliff by years of erosion, that looks like a female bear with its cub. '
Jessie BondGrockles and Muscles:
'The sea's infinite stretch towards the horizon is seductive. At once I am confronted by its enormity and drawn in by the peaceful heartbeat at my feet.'
A J FoenanderTel & Dal: Two Rocks:
'The Land stands tall, acting eternal, stagnant. But with each brush the tide takes. The sea swallows, water penetrating - giving, taking. '


Lucy Hughes BiddleTrawling for Fish 4/4:
'Turner made many studies of fish. His sketchbooks, such as the Whaler's Sketchbook or the Life Class Sketchbook, are filled with pencil drawings of dogfish, red mullet and dory.'
Keren GoldbergThe Frog Men:
'I do not remember silence at the frog men's home.'
Hannah Jane NewellA Sea-change:
'Between the twin deserts of the Pacific Ocean and Peru's arid coast, the town of Huanchaco hovers somewhere between the end and the very beginnings of existence.'
Pascale Cumming-BensonWater, Water:
'Think of falling toward the sea's floor.'