Climate

Creepy Underwater Sculptures Warn of Future Eco Disasters

The museum exhibit, Museo Atlántico, features hundreds of human forms scattered over a dozen installations at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

Just off the coast of North Africa, a haunting sight awaits divers in the shallow waters around the isle of Lanzarote, one of the Canary Islands. At the bottom of the sea bed, a ring of more than 200 human figures lie dead, victims of global warming and impeding climate change.

It's a figurative representation, thank Neptune, but the sculpture is intended as a warning. Called "Human Gyre" it's the latest and final installation in the remarkable underwater sculpture garden known as Museo Atlántico.

Opened to the (diving) pubic just last year, Museo Atlántico is largely the work of British artist and sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor and it bills itself as Europe's only underwater museum. It's situated in a protected area off the coast of the island at a depth of about 15 meters.

The collection of individual sculptures has an overall theme concerning preservation and ecology and also serves as a marine habitat for various local fish and marine animals. Taylor has constructed two other underwater exhibits in recent years, one off off the island of Grenada in the Caribbean and another near Cancún, Mexico.

With the unveiling of "Human Gyre." the exhibition is complete - more than 300 individual works scattered about a dozen large-scale underwater installations on the 2,500-square meter section of sea floor. The sculptures are made from inert, pH-neutral cement materials designed to last hundreds of years.

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The installation is designed to gradually become a kind of interactive artificial reef, as marine species make their homes in and around the sculptures. The exhibit gets plenty of divers from nearby outfitters, but is also regularly inhabited by angel sharks, barracuda, octopus, marine sponges and stingrays. Not to mention undersea plant life - some of the older artworks, installed last spring, have already doubled their weight in new biomass.

As the final piece of the installation, "Human Gyre" completes Taylor's vision and may be the most disturbing of all the sculptures.

"The artistic installation reminds us that we have evolved from marine life, and are all subject to the movements and will of the ocean," reads a statement from the museum. "The piece embodies our naked vulnerability to its inherent power, and our fragility in the face of its cycles and immense force. It provides the oxygen we breathe, it regulates our climate and it provides a vital source of nutrition to millions of people."

Click around the Museo Atlántico website for more images and details. You can make reservations there, too. BYOSCUBA.

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