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The Invisibility of the Sea

StatusFinished
Period19/01/1731/07/17

Description

The following research questions are central to our project:

• How has the cultural invisibility of the sea resulted in its overexploitation and pollution, and in inadequate regulatory standards? How might this invisibility lead to political and social crises and to environmental injustices?
• How does technology (i.e. sonar) reveal what was previously invisible in relation to the sea? And how does technology conceal what can be known in other ways (for example, because container shipping changes urban environments’ relationships to the sea)?
• In a more general sense, how can we render maritime issues more visible through mapping? How, for example, might we design time-lapse maps that can show changes across centuries or longer? In this sense, how can technology itself develop what maps can do?

The project team will work with a visual artist who can articulate our concerns and questions by drawing inspiration from existing maps in order to create new maps. These maps will be presented at a short public-facing exhibition to be held at the MV Balmoral at the Harbourside.

Our intention is that the exhibition will encourage academics, policy-makers, other stakeholders in the maritime communities (i.e. officials from fisheries and energy companies) and the general public to think in new ways about our relationship with the sea and the challenges involved in exploiting its resources responsibly and ethically. Specifically, we hope, the exhibition will point towards collective responses that will be useful in rethinking marine regulation, in line with the recent Sustainable Development Goal 14 on the conservation and sustainability of the seas (see: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg14); in addition, the exhibition will allow us to think about creating maps that are as inclusive as possible: both in that they draw upon differing academic disciplines and concerns, and in that they draw on and speak to stakeholders and the general public.

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