Embassy of the North Sea
The Embassy of the North Sea was founded in The Hague the first of June 2018, as a case of the Parliament of Things. The Embassy departs from the starting point that the sea owns itself. Through connection, imagination and representation it makes political space for sea-emancipation. The Embassy researches how non-humans, from phytoplankton to ship wrecks and cod fish – can become full-fledged members of society. In 2019 we will be listening to the North Sea, together with designers, policy makers, biologists, artists, lawyers, philosophers and writers. The Embassy works towards 2030, in which we hope to emotionally, juridically and politically relate ourselves in a fundamentally different way to the sea.
Democracy of the Anthropocene
The Anthropocene urges for new forms of political representation. The Embassy of the North Sea attempts to radically renew democracy by giving herring, algae, gas fields and fishermen a political voice. What are the interests of harbour porpoises? What does a hermit crab consider its territory and how does water see the future? At the Embassy of the North Sea, we believe that when humansengage in conversation with non-humans, and through non-humans with themselves: humanity, citizenship and democracy can receive a substantial new impulse. At Democracy Alive, the Embassy researches the possibilities of opening a Brussels office.
Phase 1: Listening (2018 – 2021) Emancipatory Phase: Scientific Recognition
Starting from the research question ‘What does the North Sea do?’ the Embassy will listen carefully to the sea and talk to a range of specialists. The Embassy will first explore the main ocean currents (from the Delta Stream to the Gulf Stream). Based on those currents, new political North Sea collectives of people and other entities will be assembled. Moreover, the Embassy will adopt an open attitude towards the conflicts and relations among those involved with the North Sea. The research phase ends with the presentation of the assembled collectives.
Phase 2: Speaking (2021 – 2026) Emancipatory Phase: Social Acceptance
Once the collectives have been assembled, the polyphonic North Sea can be seen, heard, felt, smelt and tasted in a new form of political activism. The focus in this phase lies on representing the North Sea collectives and increasing visibility.
Phase 3: Negotiating (2026 – 2030) Emancipatory Phase: Legal Equality
After the assembled North Sea collectives have voiced their opinions, the Embassy will embark on a series of negotiations with other authorities. In a diplomatically risky manner, it will advocate an inclusive North Sea Op democracy. An important aspect of this phase is ‘embedding’ the assembled North Sea collectives in the current web of human laws, interests and regulations, taking into account the resultant questions, frictions and opportunities. In association with other authorities, the Embassy will formalize its relations with other nation states bordering the North Sea, and legally assess the desirability of declaring the North Sea to be an independent legal entity. If so, this entire phase will be devoted to building the case for the North Sea.