Week 2: National Marine Aquarium & Atlantic Project Plymouth

Booked into a two film Atlantic Project free event at the National Marine Aquarium on 5th October 2018 I was mistakenly directed to a behind the scenes tour. This was itself very interesting and all the more so as most participants in the tour party happened to belong to a Mensa group visiting from elsewhere in the country. Their additional knowledge of marine life added depth and breadth to that given by the tour guides who were very knowledgeable marine biologists who worked at the venue.

Although there was only a small display about beach debris and, prompted by myself, discussion of the harm caused by and potential solutions for this man-made problem, there are monthly lectures, beach clean activities and an extensive in-house and outreach educational programme (http://www.national-aquarium.co.uk/education/) which unavoidably and inevitably refer to the issues.

Sarah Newton 2018, Plastic Fantastic at the National Marine Aquarium







Sarah Newton 2018, Plastic Fantastic at the National Marine Aquarium

One of my reasons for visiting was to check out the location as a possible venue for my exhibition. Having the opportunity to see how Bryony Gillard and Ursula Biemann presented in this context would have been useful. I have since looked at their work online. Bryony explores jelly fish thinking through video, human performance and sounds in ‘A cap like water, fluid yet with definite body’ which is also linked with ‘Tentacular Thinking’. Body prints on latex hang from the ceiling of the exhibition space and people improvise movements in response to the screening of a film of jelly fish. I can visualise some of my images in projection on screens and on fabrics (eg towelling or a lighter silk that could move more easily) hanging and trailing in the exhibition space whether inside or outside. Ursula’s work ‘Acoustic Ocean’ was commissioned by the “Atlantic Project After the Future – in the wake of utopian imaginaries in Plymouth (UK) curated by Tom Trevor.” (The Atlantic Project 2018). The Atlantic Project was a pilot for a new international festival of contemporary art in Plymouth. Ursula’s film explores the sonic ecology of marine life in the cold North Atlantic (Lofoten Islands in Northern Norway). Her writings and videos tackling and portraying human and environmental concerns have received accolades world-wide. Such a shame I missed them.

I did, however, use the opportunity to take some images of relevance to my project. These images of jellyfish gave me the opportunity to experiment with processing and the differential impacts of various colours.


BIEMANN, Ursula. 2018. ‘Geobodies-Acoustic Ocean’. Available at: https://www.geobodies.org/art-and-videos/acoustic-ocean [accessed 01/11/18].

GILLARD, Bryony. 2018. ’A cap like water, fluid yet with definite body’. Available at: http://bryonygillard.co.uk/ [accessed 01/11/18].

NATIONAL Marine Aquarium Plymouth. http://www.national-aquarium.co.uk/ [accessed 01/11/2018].

THE ATLANTIC PROJECT. 2018. ‘After the Future’, 28th September-21st October 2018. Available at: https://www.theatlantic.org/pages/about [accessed 01/11/18].

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