AH STUDIO | AQUAMARINE | # 1
n, a faculty by which the body perceives an external stimulus; one of the faculties of sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch;
a feeling that something is the case
In my daily work as a photographer, as I try to document the spectacular variety of natural colours in this glorious world, I am constantly reminded how colour changes according to temperature on the Kelvin scale. Perhaps that is why I want to compile as many raw capture images of the ocean’s mutable horizon as possible. Because just as so many species are on the brink of extinction due to climate change, so are the number of colours…
DICTIONARY OF SEA COLOURS Zinc White & Orpiment Orange
So can we use this gem, which has long been associated with protection, calm and the capacity to enhance our intelligence, to guide us through a kind of meditation? Colour bathing – imagine jumping into that sparkling sea – can help to focus or calm the mind, which in turn boosts the immune system. Moreover, by immersing ourselves in a single source we might find clarity and move away from what the activist and curator Regan Rosburg terms ‘collective social mania.’
Curator of Axis Mundi for the Biennale of the Americas, Rosburg is now the artistic director of Cayo Art + Science residency (@cayorresidency) set up with the bioartist Darya Warner and Art Bastion Director Sebastiano Varoli. Set on the island of Eleuthera in the archipelagic state of the Bahamas, the Cayor Residency seeks to bring together artists, scientific exploration, collaborative conversations, and biology-based research to facilitate a meaningful creative environment. Eleuthera’s eastern side faces the Atlantic Ocean, its western side the Great Bahama Bank, and it features an arc of exquisite aquamarine shallow waters. The topography of the island varies from wide pink sand beaches to large outcrops of ancient coral reefs. “Our goal is to provide artists with a variety of stimulating experiences with which they can conceive new projects or deepen established creative practices. By tapping into the intrinsic intelligence, design and beauty of nature, our artists return home as stewards of ecology, stimulated to protect and educate others with their work,” says Rosburg.
This little piece of paradise now faces total destruction, since Disney outbid One Eleuthera’s sustainable tourism Lighthouse project (by a whopping $300 million) with a plan to trawl a six-lane cruise ship terminal where 4,000 tourists will be disgorged daily. Additional plans to run a tram line to the beach, so the day trippers can float instead of walk, have been approved. Not only will this level of heaving tourism
destroy the fragile ecosystem there, but it threatens one of the last and oldest coral reefs on the planet.
To Rosburg, the unrelenting stream of bad news about the environment has caused ‘environmental melancholia’ (a term coined by Renee Lertzman), a kind of unresolved mourning. She developed her thesis further by looking at Sigmund Freud’s theory on melancholia and mania, and believes environmental melancholia is one part of a relentless loop, with collective social mania being the driving force of environmental destruction and madness.
Here in the Mediterranean communities and local councils are buckling under the strain of mass tourism, with NGOs like WAHV in Venice (Set up by marine biologist Jane da Mosto) desperately trying to fight back with campaigns like ‘Mare de Fumo.’ It is well documented that our economy depends on a sustainable ecosystem, as brilliantly shown in Blue Marine Foundation’s coastal projects that have revived coastal villages, reduced to ghost towns due to overfishing.
BLUE MARINE FOUNDATION
So what can we do? Look at the facts, and if we can, act. Support a charity working to protect the places you love, and when choosing how or why to travel, choose carefully.