If There Is Much In The Window There Should Be More In The Room

Friday, June 6, 2014

Watery Expression ~ the Silent Evolution


Watery Expression ~ the Silent Evolution

Is it the closed eyes, the surrounding blue hue of the sea, or perhaps the emotions the lifeless sculptures still seem to express? In all its beauty there’s something a bit eerie about this kind of art. Called “awe-inspiring” and “surreal” by the L.A. Times, the exhibit of sculptures of people standing silently on the ocean’s floor, eyes closed, and heads tilted towards the surface. 

The experience of being underwater is vastly different from that of being on land. There are physical and optical considerations that must be taken into account. Objects appear twenty five percent larger underwater, and as a consequence they also appear closer. 

Colors alter as light is absorbed and reflected at different rates, with the depth of the water affecting this further. The light source in water is from the surface, this produces kaleidoscopic effects governed by water movement, currents and turbulence. Water is a malleable medium in which to travel enabling the viewer to become active in their engagement with the work. The large number of angles and perspectives from which the sculptures can be viewed increase dramatically the unique experience of encountering the works.

Art is made for others to see, so one might question why an artist might choose to create it in a place where no one would: Other than fish, that is.

Or, in Jason deCaires Taylor's case, he might question why he would do it any other way. After all, thousands of people have flocked to see his work ever since he started creating it in 2006. That was when Taylor created his first underwater sculpture park off the coast of Grenada in the West Indies. It's since been named one of the 25 wonders of the world by National Geographic Magazine.

A one-of-a-kind blend of art, nature, and conservation, The Underwater Museum re-creates an awe-inspiring dive into the dazzling under-ocean sculpture parks of artist Jason deCaires Taylor.


Taylor's sculptures depict humans in dozens of different expressions, from single statues to multitudes. He creates them on land, and then, each statue is lowered into the sea. To date, he has created nearly 600 sculptures that act as artificial reefs for sea life, and has no intention of stopping anytime soon.

Jason deCaires Taylor’s underwater sculptures create a unique, absorbing and expansive visual seascape. Highlighting natural ecological processes Taylor’s interventions explore the intricate relationships that exist between art and environment. 


There, over time, the artworks attract corals, algae, and fish, and evolve into beautiful and surreal installations that are also living reefs. His works become artificial reefs, attracting marine life, while offering the viewer privileged temporal encounters, as the shifting sand of the ocean floor, and the works change from moment to moment.


Located off the coast of Cancun, Mexico, artist Jason deCaires Taylor has created an incredible artificial reef of statues he calls the Silent Evolution. A compelling installation that took several months to complete, Silent Evolution embodies a spirit that shifts between sadness and awe, all while reminding us of the intricate relationship between man and nature. With nearly 600 life-size human sculptures installed 9 meters below sea level, Silent Evolution plays many roles, but it is foremost an artificial reef encouraging the growth of marine life. 

Coral reefs are under assault all over the globe. Sewage and agricultural run-off from coastal areas poison many reefs via toxic algae blooms that can cut off their much-need oxygen supply. Human visitors also cause extensive damage by literally knocking into the ecosystems, breaking off pieces of souvenir coral, and dragging boats and anchors across its fragile surfaces.

We probably don’t have to mention the life-threatening conditions natural reefs are under today due to human behavior. However, artificial reefs, which are quite a new phenomenon, have proved to be a very good alternative as they are durable, environmentally friendly and offer relief to the natural ones as they can regenerate. 


Taylor’s sculptures are created with a pH-neutral concrete, reinforced with fiberglass, which (surprisingly) attracts marine life. 

Taylor also ‘rescues’ coral damaged in storms or by humans, and replants these on his sculptures. 

Made from environmentally friendly materials, deCaires Taylor’s sculpture promotes awareness of the plight of coral. The artist says his sculpture garden in Mexico is only in the first stages of development.


As he told the Los Angeles Times, “I would also like to point out that this installation is by no means over and the second phase is dependent on nature’s artists of the sea, to nurture, evolve and apply the patina of life.”

One of the most interesting things about the sculptures is how they change underwater as they are altered by the force of water and undersea creatures. Taylor tells HLNtv that sometimes he loves the results, and sometimes they change the figures in ways he doesn't like at all.

"But that's a part of it, letting whatever will happen, happen," he says.
Taylor recently relocated from Cancun to the Canary Islands, where he has a whole lot of water calling his name. "I'm not going to be filling up the Atlantic Ocean anytime soon," he told HLNtv, a smile in his voice.

Taylor loves creating the statues, there's a certain process to moving them to their watery home that requires a bit of courage.
"As soon as you put them in the water, it's like letting them go," he said. "You know they'll change. And I love watching them change."

Taylor’s message can be read in many different ways and voices, but what he does succinctly is to remind us of our close relation to – and not to mention dependency on – nature.

He says, “You can use sculpture art as a way of conveying hope... providing hope for the future and inspiring people to think about their role on the planet.” 
As deCaires Taylor shared with the Times, the exhibit has “taken 18 months, required 120 tons of cement, sand and gravel, 3,800m of fiberglass, 400kg of silicone, 8,000 miles of red tape, 120 hours working underwater and $250,000.”


These types of underwater projects have made Jason deCaires Taylor both a name and reputation. With a background in graffiti art and scuba diving, Taylor developed an interest for the relationship between art and the environment early on, and now creates pieces that are both long-lasting and intellectually challenging. Moreover, his thoughtful placement in the shallow and crystal-clear waters of The National Marine Park of Cancun, Mexico, makes the piece very accessible to divers and tourists.

Sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor has been hard at work creating art beneath the sea for the past eight years. Take a look beneath the waves to see his vision.





Wednesday, June 4, 2014

'Water Night' Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir 3

'Water Night' Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir 3

Eric Whitacre is an American composer best known for his choral music. He has also written a large number of wind band compositions and some electronic music. In addition, he has composed works for orchestra and an opera, Paradise Lost: Shadows and Wings. 

His style is quite approachable and features trademark chords (sevenths and ninths, sometimes heard against a background of sustained seconds and fourths), unexpected chord progressions, aleatoric elements, finger snapping by choral singers, and a host of other typically recognizable characteristics.