Human’s are in a right pickle. Will whoever it is who looks despondently down upon our race do away with us like the gods in Plato’s Atlantis; are we destined to be a forgotten civilisation like the Aztecs? Unlikely. There is no god, and we are in charge of our own destiny — but, as ‘underwater sculptor’ Jason deCaires Taylor shows in his latest work: we need to buck up our ideas.
DeCaires Taylor says his affecting Raft of Lampedusa is not ‘intended as a tribute or memorial to the many lives lost, but as a stark reminder of the collective responsibility of our now global community’. Submerged just off Lanzarote on the bed of the Atlantic Ocean, his Théodore Géricault-referencing dinghy — its occupants trapped in perpetuity — is a call to action, a prompt for us all to be better. The artist’s raft is one of a series of works that make up Museo Atlantico — what he calls Europe’s first underwater museum; his Museo Subacuático de Arte (Musa), 26ft underneath the Cancun’s Caribbean, until now the world’s only.
The underwater sculpture park‘s lead installation brings our situation even closer to home; The Rubicon a group of 35 regular folk, fixated by tablets, taking selfies, edging towards a point of no return. A startling indictment of our society. The (de)communication age. Its overarching concept assimilates that of Raft of Lampedusa: passivity. Where are we going with our heads buried in social media, signing online petitions for change without exerting any ourselves, swiping right without looking up and around. Conservation is key to Jason’s work — his sculptures attracting corals, increasing marine biomass and fish species, and diverting tourists from fragile natural reefs — but it’s the need to preserve ourselves that is most intriguing.
Previous works demonstrate the evocative narrative that nature weaves into deCaires Taylor’s work, his sculptures textured to assist the growth of coral:
More from Museo Atlantico, Lanzarote: