Poetic Water Boundaries: towards a possible borderless sea, (2018)
  • Anna Livia Vørsel | UK and Denmark

  • Poetic Water Boundaries Poetic Water Boundaries Poetic Water Boundaries
  • Poetic Water Boundaries: towards a possible borderless sea, (2018)
  • Anna Livia Vørsel | UK and Denmark
  • “For there is no peril greater than the sea. Everything is constantly moving and remains eternally in flux.” Luce Irigaray, Marine Lover of Friedrich Nietzsche, (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991).

    Poetic Water Boundaries is a project that imagines a possible borderless sea. The book binds together the legal text of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea with found and made materials, a series of poetic water boundaries questioning the construction and legitimization of borders and boundaries in the fluctuating waters of the seas through laws, through lines, through land. 

    Situated at the national border between the UK and Denmark, a one-kilometre-long stretch in the North Sea, through the form of the riddle, Poetic Water Boundaries questions where this border physically is, why it is there and not somewhere else, and what this shared line and its surrounding body/bodies of water could become. A riddle is a statement or question put forward as something to solve, something inherently complex and difficult to understand, questioning established orders, showing that things are not necessarily stable, but rather indefinable and in flux, moving and flowing.


    Anna Livia Vørsel is an architectural historian and researcher. She is currently a PhD candidate in Architectural Theory, History and Critical Studies at the School of Architecture, KTH, Stockholm (2020-). She holds a BSc in Architectural and Interdisciplinary Studies and an MA in Architectural History from the Bartlett School of Architecture, where she took part in the module Critical Spatial Practice: Site-Writing. Working in-between and across scientific, historical, artistic and critical inquiries, her work addresses economic, legal and bureaucratic infrastructures in discussions around identity, belonging and knowledge production in architecture.


    My writing and research practice is often situated around texts and documents that establish, construct and create spaces, laws, materialities and identities. Writing from these documents and the sites that they create through site-writing makes it possible to shake them, turn them upside down, unsettle them and see them in a different context in the interweaving of experiences, poetics, and theory. Site-writing not only situates a site but also the writer herself, making evident the importance of questioning what sites, voices and stories we choose to engage with and in what ways we decide to do so. 

    Boundaries, Nation States, Riddles, Governance, Seas, Waters


    Luce Irigaray, Marine Lover of Friedrich Nietzsche (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991).

    Elli Köngäs Maranda, ‘Riddles and Riddling: An Introduction,’ The Journal of American Folklore, Riddles and Riddling, v. 89, n. 352, (April–June 1976), pp. 127–37.

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