A deep sense of human interconnectedness with the ocean extends across history. The desire to communicate often-ineffable feelings about the ocean has inspired a diverse range of artistic responses to its moods, textures, and melancholic dimensions. In this speculative photo-essay, we present a series of images associated with a transmedial postconceptual artistic project titled Sounds of Unridden Waves. At its core, this project comprises a feature-length surf film (2021, forthcoming), without any human surfers, and an original instrumental soundtrack. In this essay, we draw inspiration from the late Romantic era to offer an alternate imagining of the project. We present images from the film’s working archive and elsewhere, juxtaposed against a sequence of historical quotations from selected artists, writers, and poets, each of whom is responding to themes such as oceanic awe, seaside locations, and formal or spiritual meditations upon relationships between nature and abstraction in art.

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