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Connect With The Ocean Wilderness Via Art Project ‘Aerial/Sparks’ On Inis Oírr & Online

30th August 2020
A still from Ailís Ní Ríain’s video and sound composition East-West A still from Ailís Ní Ríain’s video and sound composition East-West

An art project involving multiple collaborators and many years in the making will soon invite the public to connect, both in person and online, with one of the last unknown spaces on earth — the ocean wilderness.

Aerial/Sparks was created by artist Louise Manifold as part of Galway’s European Capital of Culture programme for 2020, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Manifold brought together seven artists, writers and composers from across Europe who produced a series of standalone artworks for exhibition and radio broadcast, inspired by their experiences on research expeditions aoard the Marine Institute’s RV Celtic Explorer.

Inis Oírr, the smallest of the Aran Islands and with a deep-rooted maritime culture, is the setting for the Aerial/Sparks Art Trail from 11-27 September.

At just 3km long by 3km wide, the island can easily be traversed by foot to discover sound works housed in a lighthouse, the local church, an old handball alley and Áras Éanna, Europe’s most westerly arts centre.

Louise Manifold created Aerial/Sparks to explore the potential of radio communication to reimagine our relationship with the ocean

‘Garden Galway’ — a virtual programme of events for Ars Electronica 2020, the world-renowned festival for art, technology and society — will accompany the main exhibition from 9-13 September, and will include a series of conversations between artists and marine science experts.

Manifold created Aerial/Sparks to explore the potential of radio communication to reimagine our relationship with the ocean.

And each artist’s experience of ocean and water masses around Ireland and Europe has informed the production of individual works for audio and radio listening.

Highlights include author Kevin Barry’s ‘Island Time’, a monologue in nine chapters for a lovelorn lighthouse keeper as he dreams of distant lands, sited at Inis Oírr Lighthouse.

German composer David Stalling’s ‘Palace of Ships’ was created in collaboration with seismologist Sergei Lebedev, while visual artist Carol Anne Connolly’s acoustic portrayals of the ocean were inspired by the use of sound waves in acoustic mapping to create visuals of the sea bed.

Meanwhile, UK radio artist Magz Hall’s ‘Waves of Resistance’ is a broadcast created in the spirit of transnationalism, relaying a message of peace, hope and unity across all borders.

Manifold says Inis Oírr is the ideal home for these sound works.

“I wanted to find a place more than a space for this presentation, a place rich with silence, where organic and human sound floats and carries through the wind,” she explains. “I wanted each work to be experienced in a way that would connect with and charge our experience of place.”

Aerial/Sparks is the result of a long-term collaboration with the Marine Institute. Since 2017, artists from Ireland, Germany, England and Slovenia have taken part in seven ocean surveys and a passage from Galway to Hamburg on the RV Celtic Explorer, which the institute says is one of the few marine research vessels with sonic capabilities.

‘An innovative opportunity for artists and marine scientists to connect and engage with the wider community’

These expeditions have opened up "unique opportunities to foster connections between art and science", the Marine Institute says, as artists work side-by-side with scientists monitoring our marine biodiversity and human impact on the ocean environment.

“The collaboration between the Marine Institute and Aerial/Sparks has created an innovative opportunity for artists and marine scientists to connect and engage with the wider community through mediums such as art and music,” says Marine Institute chief executive Dr Paul Connolly.

“Using the concept of sound and the sea is a unique way of showing how both the arts and sciences can come together to highlight the value, opportunities and societal benefits of our ocean.”

Marilyn Gaughan Reddan, head of programme at Galway European Capital of Culture 2020, added: "Aerial/Sparks is a notable example of what a European Capital of Culture can bolster — new ways of thinking, new ways of working, new conversations and new partnerships.”

The Inis Oírr exhibition will be open from 11-27 September, Wednesday to Sunday between 11am and 5pm. For more information visit aerialsparks.org

MacDara Conroy

About The Author

MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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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.

 

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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