Content by: Jason deCaires Taylor – www.jasondecairestaylor.com
Posted by: Eco-Question Editor
Source: Jason deCaires Taylor – www.jasondecairestaylor.com
Photo Credit: © Jason deCaires Taylor – www.jasondecairestaylor.com
WED Banner Credit: © United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) – www.unep.org
CORAL Banner Credit: The Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) – www.coral.org
- Jason deCaires Taylor – www.jasondecairestaylor.com
- Joanna Solins
(Communications Associate of The Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) – www.coral.org)
Jason deCaires Taylor is an internationally acclaimed eco-sculptor who creates underwater living sculptures, offering viewers mysterious, ephemeral encounters and fleeting glimmers of another world where art and life develop from the effects of nature on the efforts of man. His site-specific, permanent installations are designed to act as artificial reefs, attracting corals, increasing marine biomass and aggregating fish species, while crucially diverting tourists away from fragile natural reefs and thus providing space for natural rejuvenation. Subject to the abstract metamorphosis of the underwater environment, his works symbolize a striking symbiosis between man and nature, balancing messages of hope and loss.
Since 2006 he has created and founded two large scale underwater Museums, one on the island of Grenada in the West Indies, which has subsequently been documented as a “Wonder of the World” by National Geographic and a monumental collection of over 412 pieces in Mexico called MUSA (Museo Subaquático de Arte), now listed by Forbes as one of the world’s most unique travel destinations.
Phoenix (MUSA Collection. Cancun, depth 4m)
Constructed from high strength pH-neutral cement and incorporating tensile stainless steel coral anchoring points, The Phoenix is first kinetic sculpture in the MUSA collection. Based on a female form her wings are propagated with living purple gorgonian fan coral (Gorgonia ventalina) which continuously moves back and forth underwater filtering nutrients from the water column. The fan coral which is often naturally uprooted and dislodged from strong storms and waves was rescued and replanted from imperiled fragments found on nearby sand areas. The sculpture is orientated into the prevailing current and the wings of the Phoenix appear to beat with the natural cycle of the waves.
The Listener (MUSA Collection. Cancun, depth 4m)
Partnering with Marine Biologist Heather Spence and Colegio Ecab A.C, The Listener portrays a lone figure that is assembled entirely from casts of human ears molded during a workshop of local Cancun students aged 8-12. The sculpture located within the National Marine Park of Cancun is fitted with a revolutionary NOAA-designed hydrophone, which is continually recording sounds from the reef environment and storing the data to an internal water resistant Hard drive.
Although the marine environment is often referred to as the silent world it is actually reverberating with a myriad of noises from, crustaceans clicking, fish feeding, waves breaking to boats passing overhead. Sound also travels approximately four times faster in water than in air. This experimental method of non-invasive Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) aims to try to understand some of complex sound activities that are taking place underwater and see if this data can in turn be used for conservation and research.
The form symbolizes a passive relationship between humans and nature whilst aiming to engage local students in reef conservation and draw focus to the much-needed ability to listen.
The Last Supper (MUSA Collection. Cancun, depth 4m)
The Last Supper depicts a dining table carved from a rock outcropping. It is laid with plates and cutlery and features a large bowl filled with apples and hand grenades as its centre piece. A half eaten fish supper rests on both of its plates. Following on from the Time Bomb series the work aims to illustrate the serious problem the world’s oceans are facing due to overfishing. The UN has claimed that three quarters of the worlds fisheries are severely over stressed and if nothing is done to reverse the trend we could see a worldwide collapse in 50 years with several species facing extinction. The Last Supper hopes to draw attention to this critical yet often over looked issue.
Other Works in Progress
Urban Reef: Urban Reef is a collection of architectural structures designed for individual inhabitants of the reef system. A series of contemporary urban dwellings will be assembled underwater to create a street or suburban complex. The units are divided into rooms and specifically designed to support a particular species, for example one room is designated for lobsters and crustaceans and is constructed in flat horizontal planes to mimic their preferred natural areas, another with small entry points for juvenile species to escape predators and tubular sections for eel varieties. Surfaces and walls textures will be tailored for corals and hydroids to inhabit.
The Silent Evolution (MUSA Collection): 50 new figurative pieces have now been completed and are ready to join the existing 400 sculptures of the The Silent Evolution on the Manchones reef system, in between Cancun and Isla Mujeres.
Over the past few decades we have lost over 40% of our natural coral reefs and scientists predict a demise of 80% by 2050. Only about 10 – 15% of the seabed has a solid enough substratum to allow reefs to form naturally. In order to increase the number of reefs in these areas, artificial reefs have recently been created from materials that are durable, secure and environmentally sensitive.
These artificial reefs attract corals, sponges, hydroids, increase overall reef biomass and aggregate fish species which in turn, can support an entire marine ecosystem. However one of the greatest benefits of artificial reefs is that they have relieved the pressure on natural reefs which have been over-fished, over-visited and damaged by natural events. By diverting attention to artificial reefs, natural reefs have a greater chance to repair and regenerate. Taylor works also aims to usher in a new era for tourism, one of culture and environmental awareness, in hope that the millions of tourists may begin to reconceptualise the beaches they haunt as more than sunny slices of heaven but living and breathing ecosystems.
Some of his sculptures are propagated with live coral cuttings rescued from areas of the reef system damaged by storms and human activity. This technique, a well-established procedure in reef conservation, rescues damaged coral fragments by providing a suitable new substrate. All sculpture are made from inert pH neutral environmentally friendly marine cement.
Learn more on:
- Cancun Map
- What is biodiversity?
- What is Marine and Coastal Biodiversity?
- Why Marine and Coastal Biodiversity is Important?
- What is the Problem of Coastal Biodiversity?
- What is ecosystem service?
- What are the main causes of biodiversity loss?
- Discover 5 different ways the ocean affects your everyday life
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) said in the report (www.cbd.int/marine/) that ocean cover 70% of our planet and represent over 95% of the biosphere. Marine and coastal habitants include coral reefs, mangrove forests, sea grass beds, estuaries, hydrothermal vents, seamounts and soft sediments on the ocean floor deep below the surface.
Deep-seabed habitats host between 500,000 and 10 million species. Deep-sea life is essential to life on Earth because its crucial role in global biogeochemical cycles including nutrient regeneration and oxygen.
This tremendous wealth of biodiversity and ecosystem services is not infinite. Today, human activities are greatly threatening the seas and coasts through overfishing, destructive fishing practices, pollution and waste disposal, agricultural runoff, invasive alien species, and habitat destruction.
Recent scientific results hilighted that higher biodiversity can enhance the functioning and efficiency of deep-sea ecosystem. To create a habitat for marine life, marine biodiversity by creating the one of a kind master pieces of underwater sculptures, says it all to the preservation of ecosystem services and marine biodiversity done by an eco-artist, Jason deCaires Taylor.
Learn more from trusted international web sites we love:
- Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) – www.cbd.int/marine
- International Coral Reef Initiative – www.icriforum.org
- United Nation Environment Program (UNEP) – www.unep.org
- International Maritime Organization – www.imo.org
- Biodiversity Conservation Network – www.bcnet.org
- Coastal wiki – www.encora.eu/coastalwiki
- Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) – www.coral.org
- The Nature Conservancy – www.nature.org
- The Stop Global Warming Virtual March – www.stopglobalwarming.org
Jason deCaires Taylor Biography
Jason deCaires Taylor is a man of many identities whose work resonates with the influences of his eclectic life. Growing up in Europe and Asia with his English father and Guyanese mother nurtured his passion for exploration and discovery. Much of his childhood was spent on the coral reefs of Malaysia where he developed a profound love of the sea and a fascination with the natural world. This would later lead him to spend several years working as a scuba diving instructor in various parts of the globe, developing a strong interest in conservation, underwater naturalism and photography. His bond with the sea remains a constant throughout Taylor’s life though other key influences are found far from the oceans. During his teenage years, work as a graffiti artist fired his interest in the relationship between art and the environment, fostering an ambition to produce art in public spaces and directing the focus of his formal art training. He graduated in 1998 from the London Institute of Arts, with a B.A. Honours in Sculpture and Ceramics. Later, experience in Canterbury Cathedral taught him traditional stone carving techniques whilst five years working in set design and concert installations exposed him to cranes, lifting, logistics and completing projects on a grand scale.
With this range of experiences he was equipping himself with the skills required to execute the ambitious underwater projects that have made his name. Carving cement instead of stone and supervising cranes while in full scuba gear to create artificial reefs submerged below the surface of the Caribbean Sea, the various strands of his diverse life resolve themselves convincingly in the development of his underwater sculptures. These ambitious, public works have a practical, functional aspect, facilitating positive interactions between people and fragile underwater habitats.
Jason deCaires Taylor has gained significant interest and recognition for his unique work, with articles in over 1000 publications around the world, including National Geographic, Vogue, USA Today, Daily Telegraph and The Guardian. His sculptures have aired on television features and documentaries with CNN, Discovery Channel, BBC, Metropolis Art Lounge and Thalassa. His international reputation was established in May 2006, when he created the world’s first underwater sculpture park in Grenada, West Indies, leading to both private and public commissions. Taylor is currently founder and Artistic Director of the Museo Subacuático de Arte (MUSA) in Cancun, Mexico.
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