"Naked and confused"

Work by Jane Venis, guest artist for the Dunedin Art and Oceans exhibition, has also been heard in London.

Rising levels of carbon dioxide in our oceans seems to have affected the cognitive ability in fish so that they do not know how to avoid the smell of a predator, even though they can still identify a predator's odour. It also has an effect on other senses including sight and navigation. Some projects in this exhibition are looking at the impairment on reef-fish brains caused by ocean acidification as the mortality rate in fish and shellfish larvae increase in tandem with rising levels of carbon dioxide. 

Numerous studies in recent years have documented how lower pH (higher acidity) can make it harder for shellfish and tiny organisms to form shells or internal skeletons and to reproduce. So not only will some be naked (as they can't make shells) but many are confused through their loss of ability to see and navigate.

I have made two soundtracks of differing lengths to be played together. This means that the listener will hear an ever changing soundscape with the sounds of various sea creatures 'swimming into contact' with each other at different times. The grazing of shrimp and other reef creatures provide a percussive element to the soundtrack. All the sea creatures in this sound work are in some way threatened by rising acidification, micro plastic pollution or sound pollution which effects their ability to survive.

Drifting through the soundtrack you will hear the cry of a contemporary bone flute - similar to a traditional kōauau - on which I play a lament to the state of our oceans.

A remix of this sound work was selected by Blue Dot Generation for the exhibition "Art for Education: Transforming the relationship between human and ocean" in London in September 2018. The exhibition venue was the House of Vans gallery, old underground tunnels at Waterloo Station  which have been transformed into gallery and performance venues with exciting acoustics.

November 2018