Ocean explores and celebrates our human connection with the water that covers over 70% of the planet. It does this from a number of different perspectives, bringing together world-leading researchers with contemporary artists and designers to create new works that invite a deeper understanding of the interconnected nature of land and sea. Including a science station for real world experiments, the exhibition also invites the public to get involved, forging a personal connection with the ocean, and our collective responsibility to protect it.
Situated in Plymouth, a city that has long held a special connection to the sea, Ocean explores the city's unique natural harbour and maritime history that's steeped in a complex history of trading, culture, and colonial narratives. This encounter is amplified by the city's ongoing role as a global pioneer in marine research. The historical associations and ongoing journey paint a unique portrait of Plymouth as a site of global resonance and local relevance. Ocean charts the human and environmental concerns that are raised within the climate crisis.
At the core of the exhibition, three commissioned works by Bridgette Ashton
, Mat Chivers
and Stefanie Posavec
create a rich tapestry of ocean narratives informed by Plymouth’s special significance. They explore the hidden secrets of Drake's Island, the awe-inspiring majesty of the Eddystone Lighthouse, and the intricate, underwater world of Plymouth Sound. Each artist innovatively bridges the gap between science and art, offering an immersive, experiential exploration of the marine world.
Stefanie Posavec, an artist/designer who specialises in data visualisation, has collaborated with the Marine Institute
on a new work rendered within the gallery. Her playful presentation of real-life data sets invites the visitor to situate themselves in a volume of water equivalent to a specific area of Plymouth Sound, and envision what is present within it; from the macro to the micro.
Mat Chivers’ short film Keepers, specially commissioned for the exhibition, features the Eddystone Lighthouse. It considers how the precarious moment of change we’re in right now confronts us with the urgent need to focus our actions in a way that recognises our dependence on other-than-human life and ecologies, in the oceans and on land. Lighthouses remind us to proceed with caution.
Bridgette Ashton has created a new sculptural work, Ictis, based on Plymouth Sound’s iconic Drake’s Island. It references the history of the island, dating back to 1st century BCE, and the unreliable narratives that continue to add colour and complexity to accounts of the island and its heritage.
The exhibition is interactive, encouraging the public to participate in real-world experiments at the science station and explore the digital wonders of the marine world through the National Marine Park
initiative. This innovative approach aims to forge a personal connection between the community and the ocean, thus kindling a shared responsibility for its protection.
Ocean is a testament to The Arts Institute's transformative shift towards a more collaborative, inclusive, and connected approach. It encapsulates the key principles of the Institute, creating a forum where science and creativity meet, fostering an environment for progressive conversation, and encouraging societal, economic, and environmental growth.
The exhibition has been curated by The Arts Institute in collaboration with the Marine Institute. A full programme of associated events accompanies the exhibition, including Bitesize gallery talks.
Date: Saturday 16 September - Saturday 16 December 2023
Time: Monday - Friday 10:00 - 17:00, Saturday 12:00 - 17:00, Closed Sundays and Bank Holidays
Venue: The Levinsky Gallery, Roland Levinsky Building
Ticket information: Free admission