‘For Now We See‘ transforms the interior of St Thomas’ Church into a portal to the undiscovered, impenetrable and mysterious places hidden in the world’s deepest oceans thousands of meters beneath the surface. A hidden flight of stairs to the belfry, a storage cupboard and the balcony pews; areas not normally open to the public; are all employed by Mariele Neudecker to reveal some of the world’s most isolated marine environments. Neudecker sites a series of video installations throughout these peripheral spaces of a Victorian Gothic Church.
A seemingly deserted seabed, a colossal underwater mountain range and the vast abyss of deep sea space are revealed. This originally silent video footage, (the scientists have no requirement to record the sound) has been overlaid by Neudecker with different sounds from helicopters, heart beats and a clock ticking, together with a classical score by Petēris Vasks called Voices of Silence(c1996), a piece that was originally composed for the silence in outer space.
See video on the project here.
Neudecker’s body of work has been produced through conversations with Professor Alex Rogers, a leading world marine biologist at Oxford University who led a team of UK Universities on an expedition of the South West Indian Ocean to find new species and plant life, mapping the deep sea floor that contains some of the world’s least known ecosystems.
Professor Alex Rogers investigated the marine life that live 1000’s of metres below the surface where hot sulphuric water shoots up through deep sea chimneys into the deep sea heated by the earth’s crust, in complete darkness. It is a place where only the hardiest of plants and animals can survive. Roger’s set up IPSO, the International Programme on the State of the Ocean. Currently, the Ocean is in a critical state of health. If it continues to decline, it will reach a point where it can no longer function effectively and our planet will be unable to sustain the ecosystems that support humankind.
Professor Roger’s gave Neudecker complete access to the 16 terabytes of video taken by cameras attached to their ROV (remotely operated vehicle) that traveled from the scientists RSS James Cook ship above, to a depth of 3000m and deeper. Neudecker became fascinated with the footage of traces and debris left behind from human activity; lobster pots, nets, cables etc, which have fallen to this incredible depth and which no one was supposed to ever see again. These poetic collisions of man with the natural world resonate with the scientific pursuit of new knowledge.
Mariele Neudecker and Adam Chodzko showed works on the deep sea and flooding as part of the British Science Festival 2013 which took place from 7th-12th September in Newcastle. Mariele Neudecker and marine biologist Professor Alex Rogers discussed her work alongside other talks by artists and scientists at the BALTIC symposium, Extraordinary Renditions: the Cultural Negotiation of Science on Monday 9th September.
‘For Now We See’ was developed with HOUSE, Brighton Festival 2013.
Mariele Neudecker’s work is supported by NERC, Oxford University and Arts Council England.