Snapshots from the live AV performance Fragile Fragments, visuals: u-matic & telematique

Heard by the Deep is a contemporary artistic program consisting of artist residencies, live performances, an exhibition, a workshop, and lectures. The common thematic framework is the sea, its (human and non-human) marine communities and the related environmental urgencies – as devastating as they are imperceptible to our human senses.

The majority of the projects presented here share a strong focus on noise pollution or sound in general. Apart from being the main media for communication in the marine biosphere, sound waves travel through seawater much faster and louder than through air. The effects of anthropogenic noise on marine life and the underwater world, therefore, come with even more dangerous and long-lasting consequences. In these artworks and research, the sound is more than a medium for communication and expression; in affirming new ways of coexistence that can redesign the hierarchies within the variety of sea inhabitants, the featured works bring a strong emphasis on sound in re-thinking the materiality of the sea as well as its semantics. From the microscale of the algae to the macroscale of noise pollution cartography, the underwater world truly is a sonic one.

There is an impulse to comprehend that and make it distinguishable in the immersive sound installation by Stijn Demeulenaere, as well as in residency research by Marko Marković and Josipa Vujević hosted by our partner institution MedILS – Mediterranean Institute for Life Sciences in Split. Marković and Vujević strive not only to understand the communication frequencies among Adriatic Sea animals but to create a system that could warn them about the danger in their surroundings. In projects like this, artists work with concrete scientific marine data – its usage, production, and visualization – offering new, speculative, imaginative scenarios at the same time. In her abstract work on environmental pollution, in collaboration with video artists u-matic and telematique, Iranian musician and artist pantea presents an impressive, intensive audiovisual performance during which the three authors imagine fictive life forms that could emerge in extremely polluted life conditions.

Making our comprehension of the sea environment experiential becomes crucial - such as in Marco Barotti’s and Francisca Rocha Gonçalves’ installation works marked by sensory and perception divergence, both emphasizing human pollution of the marine environment. Following an experimental approach, Robertina Šebjanič’s installation deals with conditions in the sea urchin environment, while her live performance with Tanja Minarik encourages reflection on new ecological realities in the Anthropocene. Fara Peluso’s installation and research residency (hosted as well by our partner medILS) is focused on hybrid art+science knowledge production and artistic concept exploration. Her multidisciplinary research on the diatom micro-algae underlines the common topic of the program as she emphasizes the importance of their invisible existence for the maintenance of biodiversity and the life of many species - including us as human beings.

Heard by the Deep program was created and produced by KONTEJNER within the international project A Sea Change. A Sea Change project brings together partners from four Mediterranean countries (Cyprus, Spain, Greece, and Croatia). From 2022 to 2024, the partners will focus on interdisciplinary and intermedia arts, as well as artistic and curatorial research dealing with a wide range of sea-related subjects such as marine ecosystems, the well-being of coastal populations, blue economy, and bioacoustics. The project unfolds across various sectors, including environmental sciences, health, tourism, and design, through a series of interventions in cultural and natural ecologies related to the Mediterranean Sea. Heard by the Deep program is organized by KONTEJNER, co-curated together with project partners MOMus – Experimental Center for the Arts (GR), NeMe (CY), and Quo Artis Foundation (ES), and realized with the support of local partners MedILS – Mediterranean Institute for Life Sciences and Multimedia Cultural Centre, Split.

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