When I saw Nina Katchadourian at the Blanton in 2017, she mentioned that one of her favorite books of all-time is Survive The Savage Sea, the true story of a family who gets stranded at sea after a killer whale attacks their ship. “It’s about what they talk about and how they stay alive and the world that is the sort of raft they’re stuck on together, which to me is a sort of metaphor for family.”
I read it, because that’s the kind of nerd that I am, in 2019, during our 8-month “Lake Erie sabbatical,” when we felt like castaways, ourselves. (See: “Of course we’ll make it!” and “Beyond Survival Mode.”) When the pandemic hit, the book took on an even deeper meaning, and I wrote about the book on our 40th day of quarantine. (See: “Survive The Savage Sea.”)
A few months after that, Nina wrote to me to tell me about this daily conversation she had started with Douglas Robertson, the older son, who wrote his own book about the experience, Last Voyage of the Lucette. Every day she would call Douglas and they’d talk about what happened on the corresponding day when they were castaways — he’d even read her passages of the book, which she said was uncanny, since her mother had read her the book aloud when she was seven.
To Feel Something That Was Not Of Our World, Nina’s show up now at Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco, is the result of those conversations. If you’re lucky enough to live there, you can book a tour, but for the rest of us, we can experience a lot of it virtually: there’s an orientation video you should watch first, a 3-D tour, and a walkthrough tour that Nina gave on Zoom a few weeks ago. If you want to go all out, all the audio is up on Bandcamp.
So delightful to see such a personal labor of love from one of my favorite artists!
Filed under: Nina Katchadourian