Four days with the students of the Nomad/9 MFA program working up to a meditation with scuba gear at the edge of the Biscayne Bay at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. Our time together afforded daily meditation practice and the chance to delve deeper into the environmental complexities of the city, including both storms and sea level rise. This Land Dive Team iteration also saw the introduction of the Dive Brief, which opens each dive and orients meditators to the ecology of the site. At the end of the week, each participant presented a Dive Brief of their own.

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Zahar Al-Dabbagh, Fatric Bewong, Blair Butterfield, Carla Corcoran (Program Manager), Rachel Dennis, Kiayani Douglas, Megan Driving Hawk, Jess Porzuczek, Desiree Duell, Susan Hackett, Benjamin Hao, Andrew Oesch, Carol Padberg (Director), Rory Sparks, Sophy Tuttle, Tathy Yazigi

Thanks to: Elizabeth Shannon, David Brooks, Sofia Bastidas-Vivar, Noah Simblist, Grove Scuba

This Distinguished Practitioner course uses the framework of the “Land Dive Team” project to engage with Miami as a site. Through readings, discussion, and the production of a new “Land Dive Team” event, we will grapple with the environmental issues faced by the city. Our work together will generate a series of written “Dive Briefs”, which may be incorporated into the collective project. These texts will both give focus to the Land Dive meditations and usher in a new phase of this ongoing, participatory artwork. The course includes meditation instruction and a scuba orientation, which will lead to two Land Dives (a training event and a site-specific dive in the city) and resulting in “Land Diver” certification for each participant. The Land Dives will be documented and images will be shared with all participants.
“Land Dives” are sited meditations with scuba gear that began in Florida in 2014. Since then, ten iterations of the project have been produced. Dives have been sited in a “former ocean” in Marfa Texas, in the “future ocean” of a Qatar desert near the rising Persian Gulf, and in the “rising tide” of the Bay of Fundy (which has the highest tide on the planet—on a day that had the highest recorded King Tide to date). Attention to the environment and its context is heightened by the act of meditation on land with scuba gear. These meditations are augmented by the weight and constraints of the gear, which keep participants grounded in their physical bodies, as well as by the soundscape of a group of people’s amplified breathing in chorus. This Miami Land Dive will allow us to delve deeper into issues around rising sea levels in the city (and beyond) and to work together to consider how the grounded attention of “staying with the trouble” may be a move toward its amelioration.
The “Dive Brief” is the information that divemasters give to divers on shore or aboard a boat before the start of every dive. The brief usually begins with an introduction of the crew and dive leaders. It contains information about the site; this can be historical, environmental, or other. It may contain an outline of the animals in the area that the diver may see (or perhaps avoid). It alerts divers to the logistics of the dive and to safety measures. We will borrow from this format for the writing of the Dive Briefs, which are intended as the individual or collective companion project to our Land Dives. These will be completed by the end of the day on Saturday and will accompany documentation of our dives. If time permits, and at the discretion of individual or collective authors, they may be incorporated in the actual dives on Friday.
Haraway, Donna J. Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. Durham: Duke University Press, 2016.
Chapter 8: "The Camille Stories: Children of Compost” (pp. 134–168).
Kolbert, Elizabeth. “The Siege of Miami: As temperatures climb, so too, will sea levels.” The New Yorker, December 21 & 28, 2015. [Read online.]
Scranton, Roy. Learning to Die in the Anthropocene: Reflections on the End of a Civilization. San Francisco: City Lights Books, 2015.
Introduction: Coming Home (pp. 13–27), Chapter 5: A New Enlightenment (pp. 89–109), Coda: Coming Home (pp. 111–117).
Rinpoche, Sogyal. The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying (20th Anniversary Edition). New York: HarperOne, 2002.
Chapter 5: "Bringing the Mind Home" (pp. 57–85).

Miami, Florida at Biscayne Bay
The Sea Arm at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
Hope, Open Water Scuba Diver, Originator of the Land Dive Team
Group 1: [write in]
Nomad/9 MFA Program
Hartford Art School Interdisciplinary Master of Fine Arts: Dedicated to regenerative culture and designed for the 21st Century
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens: Built between 1914 and 1922 as the winter home for James Deering Vice President of International Harvester the largest producer of agricultural machinery of its time. Vizcaya is now a public museum and property of Miami-Dade County, with the mission of engaging its community and its visitors in learning through the arts, history and the environment.

Land Dive Support Team:   
Carol Padberg: Artist and Founder/Director of Nomad/9 MFA at the University of Hartford
Carla Corcoran: Program Manager of Nomad/9 MFA at the University of Hartford
Elizabeth Shannon: Assistant Curator, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
Game steward of this Land Dive…

Acknowledge those artists or curators who led to our coming to this site:
Noah Simblist, Sofia Bastidas-Vivar, David Brooks
Land Dive Support from the Nomad/9 Program:  Blair Butterfield, Susan Hackett, Rachel Dennis
Safety and Precautions:
Our dive will take place on this promenade only. We will not step foot onto the terrain that surrounds it on one side nor into the water of Biscayne Bay, which it faces. Take care too not to move past the promenade to the bridge, which could be treacherous. Again, please keep off the turf and the bridge and stay out of the water.
A bit more about where we sit:
Land Dive Team: Miami Sea Arm takes place in subtropical South Florida which geologically is comprised of limestone, which was deposited for the millions of years that Florida existed at the bottom of a shallow sea. And the limestone is porous, which means it is filled with holes, and the holes are filled with water for the most part. (Thank you, writer Elizabeth Kolbert for this language and insight.) What this means is that sea level rise in the region will not only happen on the coasts, the water will also rise from the ground. This is why people walking their dogs have spied fish in the park.
We also know that for the past several years, and again I quote Elizabeth Kolbert, “the daily high-water mark in the Miami area has been rising at the rate of almost an inch a year…that’s ten times the rate of average global sea level rise.
Vizcaya and South Florida have also endured severe damage from hurricanes and tropical storm. This dive site very specifically has sustained the trauma of “Unnamed Tropical Storm” in 1966, Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Hurricane Wilma in 2005 and this past fall, during the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season, Hurricane Irma, which made landfall in Miami on September 10th. Once again, the basement flooded reaching the level of the first floor—and the storm surge, not without a sense of irony, deposited a jet ski in the Marine Garden.
I am told by curator Liz Shannon that the entire staff of Vizcaya Museum and Gardens worked together on cleanup.
Dive Time and the Start and Stop of the Dive:
Each of the three Land Dive Team groups who will be diving today will sit for two dives. The first of those dives will last for five minutes, and that is the dive where photography, videography, and recording is permitted. The second of the two dives will last for ten minutes and during that dive, no photography, videography, or recording is permitted. This is to preserve a meditative space for the divers.
The ringing of a small bell ring will signal the start and stop of each dive.
Additional Safety notes:
Before we begin the dive, I will ask each diver for an “okay” hand signal to indicate that we can begin.
In the event that any diver experiences difficulty breathing during a dive, the protocol is to remove the regulator from the mouth and breathe normally.
Each of these divers is completing Land Diver certification and will receive their Land Dive Certification card in the mail within a reasonable length of time from this dive today.
And lastly before we begin, Land Diving is a practice of returning to the breath, no matter what arises in the mind. It is a practice of staying present in the body and on the site and of training to sustain attention to that which is unfolding around us.
Divers, shall we begin the dive?


Land Dive Team approached by actual dive barge.
Photo: Tathy Yazigi
Photo: Tathy Yazigi
Photo: Tathy Yazigi
Photo: Tathy Yazigi
Photo: Tathy Yazigi
Photo: Tathy Yazigi
Photo: Tathy Yazigi
Photo: Tathy Yazigi
Photo: Tathy Yazigi
Photo: Tathy Yazigi
Photo: Tathy Yazigi