Scubadeepus data-analyticae (homage to marine scientists)
plywood, paint, pen
120 x 100 cm
The process for this exhibition, through which marine scientists shared information and insights into their profession showed me how measurement and data underpin their work. It made me realize that this is a particular passion that is foreign to me.
During this period I watched an ABC special Southern Ocean Live which included live crosses to marine scientists underwater, as well as pre-recorded footage, showing amazing creatures and intriguing marine animal behaviour.
I decided that I wanted to make an artwork about the work of a marine scientist. Scuba diving equipment is a tool of the trade. On land it is heavy and cumbersome but is essential for the marine scientist to be is able to pursue their passion. I find that, at the start of a creative process, I can generate ideas more easily if I work with the materials which I’m interested in or that are relevant to the topic. I borrowed redundant scuba gear from the local dive shop and looked at it, laid it out on the floor, and thought about different ways that I could use the materials or shapes. I traced around the shapes and cut them out of paper. I then played with combinations of shapes as I worked out what to do. As I did this, some of the combinations appeared to me as possible sea creatures.
One of the scientists referred me to the AODN Portal, which is a treasure trove of data from government-funded agencies. Delving into the Portal revealed maps which were like vivdly-coloured abstract paintings. I was excited by the visual strength of these maps which are based on the patient collection of data from our oceans. The maps of plankton in the Bremer Bay basin were particularly vivid.
I decided that I’d combine the scuba equipment shapes, data and maps to create a new sea creature, which I’ve named the Scubadeepus data-analyticae in homage to marine scientists whose research contributes to our understanding of our planet.
Thanks to South Coast Diving Supplies for their assistance.
AODN Portal https://portal.aodn.org.au/
Photo 1. Artwork
Photos 2 and 3. playing with the shapes of scuba diving equipment
Photo 4. Map of Bremer Bay coast showing plankton levels.
Annette Davis is an artist and curator from Albany, Western Australia. She has a BA (Hons) and M.Phil (Australian Studies) from the University of WA. Annette works in a range of media including painting, printmaking and textiles. She exhibits regularly and has contributed to MIX Artists’ projects over many years.