‘Offshore: Artists Visit Hull – Kasia Molga

Posted on 01.12.2016

**We are going to take a break from the regular Throwback Thursday features to document the progress of our latest exhibition ‘Offshore: artists explore the sea’, opening in Hull this April**

Kasia Molga is one of several artists commissioned to produce a project for ‘Offshore’. Fresh from the continually successful Human Sensor project that we ran this summer in Manchester Kasia is beginning a fresh project which will exist as a few chapters, the first of which will be shown at ‘Offshore’ in April. Kasia and ‘Offshore’ curator Lara Goodband traveled to Hull to research for her new project and to get a feel of the city which has been named UK City of Culture for 2017.

We spoke to Kasia about her trip to get a better idea of what she’s planning and what she learnt.

ID: Briefly, what is you new project focusing on?

KM: So the name of my project is Coral Love Stories, Chapter 1. The whole idea behind the coral love stories is first of all to look at our relationship with something that is so important to the well being of our oceans and which is very far away for most us, especially those living in cities, but our actions such as big consumerism and waste plastics has a huge effect on them and their well being. They’re responsible for 25% of ocean biodiversity and large percentage of fish that we eat, the project will look at how we can build relationships with these amazing species that are so old and so beautiful but are so far away we don’t think about them on a day to day basis.

I’m specifically looking at Love Stories because of the amazing spawning events that happen only once a year, its an incredible thing where particular types of coral even if they’re not close to each other, somehow, they communicate and they know to spawn together. I’m developing a series of objects, design pieces and artworks which will vary from audio visual pieces and wearables, but they will have one thing in common; which is to respond to real time environmental data taken from either the lab or from the internet, for example like the National Ocean Agency (NOAA) update the coral reef conditions on a regular basis.

ID: Where was it you visited?

KM: I went to The Deep [an aquarium in Hull], the visit was really amazing because Seb Prajsnar, the scientist there gave us a really personal tour of whats going on in the museum, and all the amazing corals they have there and how they look after them.What I was looking for first of all was to find some kind of connection, some kind of intimate connection, between human bodies and coral, even, for example, if somehow corals can help us protect ourselves or better ourselves, or if there was some kind of similarity with human behavior, some kind of anchor I could use to describe the intimacy between humans and this species which is so far away.

ID: What did you learn from your ‘journey to The Deep’?

KM: One thing I found out about is that there is soft coral and hard coral, I always thought corals mainly had a hard calcium skeleton, but obviously not, there is a soft coral, I even touched it,  its kind of pinkish and it looks like a very hairy human body – the hairs are called polyps. Also, in general when we think about corals we think of this amazing symbiotic relationship between different species and corals, but in fact I found out they fight with each other all the time; they’re in a constant war with one another! If you want to do something about coral love stories its definitely a lot of war not love! They also have this bubble coral in the museum, its really beautiful looks kinda like bubbles with long tentacles but very vicious – it fights with other coral, killing them basically – which was interesting.

But me and Seb the scientist found this common passion we both are fascinated with this symbiotic relationship between coral and algae. Algae live inside the coral polyps and because they can photosynthesize, the polyps kind of protect them and in exchange the algae provide the coral with essential minerals: proteins, sugars and nutrients, basically, food, and I was thinking what if we could do that? What if we could host some kind of algae on our skin and got food in exchange, there would be no hunger in the world!  I think my first artwork will be looking at this type of possibility, but I wont say anymore because I’m still experimenting…

Follow Kasia on twitter: @olygamy for more updates

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