THE OTHER WORLD

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Published on September 01, 2015 with No Comments

Discover Earth’s last unexplored frontier at Singapore’s ArtScience Museum.

Words EMMA RAMSAY

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Credit: © 2002 MBARI

 

Survival beneath the surface. This is the subject matter being explored in The Deep, presently showing at the ArtScience Museum. In this first-of-its-kind exhibition in South East Asia, The Deep introduces audiences to the other side of the ocean. A side where the sun rarely penetrates its darkest depths, shedding light on life that exists 4,000 metres below.

Set in a pitch-black environment, visitors can experience what it is like to view the creatures in their ‘natural habitat’. Featuring over 40 stunning, rarely seen and sometimes strange-looking deep-sea creatures, the exhibition explores the miraculous findings scientists have discovered in the ocean deep. There are also 67 images of sea fauna and bioluminescent creatures, some of which have never been photographed before. Organised into eight zones, the exhibition will showcase the different depths of the sea, such as life in the mid-water (up to 4,000 metres below the surface) and on the ocean floor.

A key highlight of the exhibition is Hidden/Depths, an installation by Australian artist, Lynette Wallworth, which encourages visitors to take on the role of deep-sea explorers. This interactive installation, commissioned for the exhibition by ArtScience Museum, allows visitors to use UV torches to uncover seven, never-before-seen, deep-sea specimens and three films of bioluminescent animals, hidden in 18 luminescent glass sculptures. One deep-sea specimen on display in Hidden/Depths is the Widenosed chimeare, otherwise known as the Pinocchio of the deep-sea. In the murky depths of the ocean, the Widenosed chimeare depends on its extremely long and very flexible snout to source for food in the deep ocean.

Another creature, Idiacanthus sp.(BlackDragon Fish) stands out with its body covered in minuscule photophores, which light up when it is disturbed. Their luminous chin barbel serves as a lure to attract prey, yet only the females are supplied with these features. Interestingly, the males of this particular species can be 10 times smaller than the females and do not possess a lure or teeth. For the installation, Wallworth worked with a series of experts from Great Britain and Singapore to ensure these creatures were presented in the best manner possible. Wallworth says, “Hidden/Depths is a tribute to the wonders that exist in the deep ocean, those that we know, those we have yet to encounter. I hope the glimpse it offers into this other-worldy environment will remind as we are much to protect as much to discover. This is not another world, it is the one, we have to share with the creatures of the deep.”

Honor Harger, Executive Director of ArtScience Museum, added, “The Deep uses both art and science to shed light on the deepest parts of our ocean, which have long been a mystery to many. In order to address the critical environmental challenges that the ocean faces, we need both the emotional connections created through art, and the understanding generated by science. That is why we commissioned Lynette Wallworth to create Hidden/Depths. Lynette is at the forefront of art and science practice internationally, having created several exquisite artworks that give visitors emotional encounters with the ocean. We are thrilled to present her latest work, which is a truly striking installation that skillfully weaves scientific discoveries from the deep sea into a stunning, interactive display.”

The Deep curator, Claire Nouvian, says, “There’s a vast number of astounding creatures living deep beneath the sea, and it’s both exciting and humbling to think about how many more of them we have yet to discover. Hopefully The Deep will bring to our attention the beauty that surrounds us and the possibility that if we don’t act now, there may be nothing left to discover in the future.”

In conjunction with the exhibition, there are also a wide-range of programmes and activities being offered for audiences of all ages. From fact-filled guided tours to fascinating storytelling, creative hands-on workshops to arts and crafts, the activities have been designed to enhance visitors’ journey through the realm of the deep sea.

The Deep runs until October 27, 2015.

 

 

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