Platform for City Culture and Public Debate


Blue Machine

w/ Helen Czerski

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Date: 20 June 2023
Time: 20:00 – 21:45
Location: Floating Festivalheart RAM (Maassilo), Maashaven Zuidzijde 1-2
Admission: €10,- (regular), €6 (reduced)
Language: English

Earth is home to a huge story that is rarely told – that of our ocean. Not the fish or the dolphins, but the massive ocean engine itself: what it does, why it works, and the many ways it has influenced animals, weather and human history & culture. On June 20 physicist, oceanographer and BBC Science presenter Helen Czerski will join us for a lecture on the occasion of her brand new book Blue Machine: How The Ocean Works. The talk will take place on the water, in a floating container on the Maashaven, as part of the Rotterdam Architecture Month.

In Blue Machine Helen Czerski dives deep to illuminate the murky depths of the ocean engine, examining the messengers, passengers and voyagers that live in it, travel over it, and survive because of it. From the ancient Polynesians who navigated the Pacific by reading the waves to permanent residents of the deep such as the Greenland shark that can live for hundreds of years, she explains the vast currents, invisible ocean walls and underwater waterfalls that all have their place in the ocean’s complex, interlinked system.

Blue Machine presents a fresh perspective on what it means to be a citizen of an ocean planet. The understanding it offers is crucial to our future and recalibrates our view of this defining feature of our planet. Drawing on years of experience at the forefront of marine science, Helen Czerski captures the magnitude and subtlety of Earth’s defining feature, showing us the thrilling extent to which we are at the mercy of this great engine.

If you attend this programme, there is no need to buy a separate ticket for the festival heart. A ticket for this programme already gives access to the floating festival heart.

Report to the Rotterdam Architecture Month welcome desk on the square in front of the Maassilo. Have your ticket scanned here. You will receive a wristband that gives you access to the programme in the floating festival centre. If you arrive 30 minutes before the start of the programme, you can also walk the route through the festival centre.

PLEASE NOTE: Do not go directly to the floating bins, without a (programme) wristband you will not get access.


Helen Czerski

Helen Czerski is a physicist and oceanographer at University College London’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. The author of the bestselling ‘Storm in a Teacup’, she is a science columnist for the Wall Street Journal, writing regularly about the physics of everyday life. She has been a returning presenter of BBC TV science documentaries since 2011 and is the host of the Ocean Matters Podcast.

Sereh Mandias

Sereh Mandias studied Architecture at the TU Delft and Philosophy at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. In her work she oscillates between theory and praxis, with a specific interest in the creation of the contemporary city. She works as an independent writer and researcher, is the founder of architecture podcast Windoog, editor of Journal for Architecture OASE and teaches at the Chair of Interiors Buildings Cities (Faculty of Architecture and the built Environment, TU Delft) and the Rotterdam Academy of Architecture.

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