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Changing The "Conversation" on the Ocean Environment - Science & Art Combined For Multi-media Exhibition

9th December 2019
Oceans in Transformation commissioned by TBA21-Academy.  Multibeam sonar sounding of Reykjanes Ridge in the Atlantic Ocean Oceans in Transformation commissioned by TBA21-Academy. Multibeam sonar sounding of Reykjanes Ridge in the Atlantic Ocean Photo: Territorial Agency

Combined impacts of sea-level rise, intensification of maritime transport, depletion of coastal ecosystems and deep-sea mining are the theme of a new exhibition planned for the Italian city of Venice which aims to change the conversation about the ocean environment writes Lorna Siggins.

A projected image of Venice in the year 2050 if the global community lives up to the 2016 Paris Agreement forms part of the exhibition, opening in the Spring.

There are predictions that combined sea-level rise and land subsidence will flood the city built on 118 small islands entirely by the year 2100.

Effects of overfishing, bottom trawling, oil exploration and extraction, migration, changing ocean circulations, militarisation and melting ice are also traced by the research project, Territorial Agency, which is hosting the exhibition.

Bathymetry and fishing data from the “black Atlantic”, as in mid-Atlantic, the impact of shipping activity and oil licensing, and a multibeam sonar sounding of Reykjanes Ridge in the Atlantic are among images commissioned for the project.

It also draws on multi-beam sonar data for a view of the Pacific ocean floor, off the coast of Hawaii.

Other images include scenarios of sea-level rise overlaid on the rapid depletion of the coastal ecosystems of the Mississippi delta in the USA, the impact of rapid urbanisation in China on the Yangtze River plume near Shanghai, and fishing and trans-shipment data near the Nazca-Desventuradas marine park off of the coast of Chile.

Territorial Agency was founded by Ann-Sofi Rönnskog and John Palmesino as an independent organisation. It states that it combines “architecture, spatial analysis, advocacy and action” to influence change in the inhabited environment.

The project was informed and “catalysed” by sea-level rise, as the most visible sign of climate change, but investigates the changes in world oceans during the current geological era known as the Anthropocene.

It assesses latest scientific knowledge, based on a consensus that less than 20 per cent of ocean floors have been mapped, to emphasise the critical role of oceans in the planet’s survival.

“The oceans are changing very fast, yet knowledge of them is moving slowly and is enveloped in long-established forms of cultural separation and distinction between human activities at land and at sea,” they state, arguing that “this division needs to be rethought to address the urgent and vast transformations that the seas are undergoing”.

Oceans in Transformation, as the large scale multi-media exhibition is called,“rearranges the maritime space as a stage for human violence, empire and colonial history”.

The organisers will host parallel discussions with key players in environmental conversations and research, including scientists, artists, governmental and society groups, policymakers and conservationists.

The research project is Oceans in Transformation,  is led by the architecture team "Territorial Agency’" The exhibition will take place at Ocean Space, Venice, from March 2020, and it is organised and commissioned by TBA21-Academy. 

Lorna Siggins

About The Author

Lorna Siggins

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Lorna Siggins is a print and radio reporter, and a former Irish Times western correspondent. She is the author of Everest Callling (1994) on the first Irish Everest expedition; Mayday! Mayday! (2004) on Irish helicopter search and rescue; and Once Upon a Time in the West: the Corrib gas controversy (2010).

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Marine Science Perhaps it is the work of the Irish research vessel RV Celtic Explorer out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of marine research, development and sustainable management, through which Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. From Wavebob Ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration these pages document the work of Irish marine science and how Irish scientists have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.

 

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At A Glance – Ocean Facts

  • 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by the ocean
  • The ocean is responsible for the water cycle, which affects our weather
  • The ocean absorbs 30% of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity
  • The real map of Ireland has a seabed territory ten times the size of its land area
  • The ocean is the support system of our planet.
  • Over half of the oxygen we breathe was produced in the ocean
  • The global market for seaweed is valued at approximately €5.4 billion
  • · Coral reefs are among the oldest ecosystems in the world — at 230 million years
  • 1.9 million people live within 5km of the coast in Ireland
  • Ocean waters hold nearly 20 million tons of gold. If we could mine all of the gold from the ocean, we would have enough to give every person on earth 9lbs of the precious metal!
  • Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector in the world – Ireland is ranked 7th largest aquaculture producer in the EU
  • The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest ocean in the world, covering 20% of the earth’s surface. Out of all the oceans, the Atlantic Ocean is the saltiest
  • The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the world. It’s bigger than all the continents put together
  • Ireland is surrounded by some of the most productive fishing grounds in Europe, with Irish commercial fish landings worth around €200 million annually
  • 97% of the earth’s water is in the ocean
  • The ocean provides the greatest amount of the world’s protein consumed by humans
  • Plastic affects 700 species in the oceans from plankton to whales.
  • Only 10% of the oceans have been explored.
  • 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year, equal to dumping a garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.
  • 12 humans have walked on the moon but only 3 humans have been to the deepest part of the ocean.

(Ref: Marine Institute)

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