Bioluminescence, Gelatinous and Gigantic fang creatures? 10,000-year-old deep sea fauna? Satisfy your curiosity and get acquainted with a world you never knew existed at The Deep exhibition.
The world just got bigger. For a long time, biologists have unanimously claimed that there is ‘no life’ at the bottom of the sea in the absence of light. Yet recent deep sea explorations has proved otherwise. Teeming with life in the seemingly barren abyss are bioluminescence sea creatures that glow in the dark, gelatinous transparent creatures, reefs and creatures that thrive at inhabitable volcanic vents and toxic methane seeps, in unimaginable diversity.
According to the ArtScience Museum’s latest exhibition The Deep, the deep sea is the Earth’s largest reservoir of life, yet only 10 percent of the seafloor has been mapped out so far. This brings “We have only just scratched the surface” to a whole new level. The Deep opened to the public on the 6th of June. I went in there a ‘clean sheet’, armed with deep sea knowledge that was close to non-existent and boy was I blown away.
Featuring the largest collection of over 40 deep sea creatures and images of fauna captured for the first time, The Deep is the result of hours of research, hard work (and ‘pleading’ biologists from all over the world to give away some of their rarest specimens for public education) put together by exhibition curator, Claire Nouvian.
The exhibition is presented in a pitch-black environment thus emulating the absence of light in the deep sea, and organized into eight zones each revealing findings at different sea depths. The final zone is dedicated to Nouvian and her efforts to raise public awareness of the urgency to protect and preserve the fragile ecosystem of the deep sea.
I was fortunate enough to join the curator tour conducted by the very passionate Nouvian. Curator tours are one of the best ways to appreciate and understand the minds of the curators behind the exhibition conceptualisation. Unlike space explorations, deep sea exploration only really took off in the 1960s, making this breakthrough exhibition even more exciting (they are discovering new species and learning new things every year!). It’s truly amazing how there is even life to begin with under such harsh and uninhabitable conditions, yet we find such unusual, frightening and stunningly beautiful creatures at the bottom of the seas.
Even though the 40 extremely rare specimens on display are taxidermied (difference in environment, temperature, pressure and oxygen levels make it impossible for them to surface in the surface), it still doesn’t take away the thrill to know that you are in such close proximity with creatures that exists some 4,000 metres below sea level.
The Deep exhibition makes one marvel at how these deep sea creatures can survive in such extreme, pressure-filled conditions in absolute darkness. Beyond simply educating the public, the exhibition also seeks to reveal how we need to protect these deep sea creatures and their habitats. Towards the end of the tour, Nouvian reminded that highly endangered Bluefin tunas who were once undesirable bycatch (unintentionally caught marine species) are now served all over the world. When the tunas run out, nets will be dropped even deeper into the sea to bring in other marine species to the dinner tables. Question is, which bycatch will end up on the plate then?
All in all, the exhibition was a visual spectacle and I really respect Nouvian for her efforts to educate the public on the spectacular yet mysterious world within the deep oceans. I hope the photos below will intrigue you to visit the exhibition. Bring your kids, bring your friends, bring your spouse, bring your girlfriend or boyfriend. I promise you, you will be amazed. This is one exhibition you wouldn’t want to miss. RW
Ticket Pricing: $14 / $12 (Local – flash your IC and purchase at counter)
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