Inspiration: Just the Ocean.

I believe that human beings have an intimate relationship with the ocean.

Since years ago, mankind has explored the Earth so extensively, leaving footprints on almost every island and continent. We have even sent rockets to the moon and other planets, scrutinizing the beauty of the universe. However, I believe that some of the most exciting adventures, the most unexplored frontiers lie right here on Earth, in the serenity of the deepest blue.

The adorable dolphin and giant turtle have long been known to be life savers of human beings lost at sea. Amazing sea creatures such as the great variety of fishes, sea horse and jellyfish, are all unique to the underwater world of the ocean. Glorious and fascinating shells, corals, reefs, sponges and seaweed together form harmonious coexistence and splendid decoration for the seabed. The marvels of the ocean – the numerous exquisite, valuable and interesting life forms of the deep ocean; the calming, comforting and soothing ambience; the cooling sensation of the surrounding waters – is exactly the reason why I have chosen to examine and illustrate the Underwater as the theme for my Sec 4 AEP Coursework.

The ocean can be tranquilly beautiful, full of fascinating creatures and kaleidoscopic wonders. Just imagine: floating weightless in the deep, completely relaxed, awed by the paradise-like environment around you, simply appreciating the oceanic underwater setting. By placing yourself in such a setting, you naturally enter a subconscious state of mind, throwing aside the worries and troubles from real life, having an almost intimate interaction with the ocean blue, an altogether surreal but immensely pleasurable experience. Moreover, the exciting element of the ocean, such as that of underwater exploration (marine archeology, topography, treasure hunting etc.), triggers wild thoughts and bold imaginations, daring the fearless and adventurous to take on the challenge.

Hence, with my strong interest in exploring the wonders of the Underwater, I am dedicated to creating a space (“Oceanarium”) that captures both the calm and excitement of the ocean, in the underwater themed murals, lighting and 3D sculptures.

In real life, scientists have barely explored this extensive environment mainly because it is hostile to humans in many ways. Firstly, human lungs are unable to naturally function underwater. Secondly, with increasing depth the water can reach a very large density, creating a water pressure that the human body cannot withstand. Thirdly, with increasing depth underwater, sunlight is absorbed, and visibility gradually decreases as amount of light decreases. Fourthly, at depths greater than a few 100m, the sun has little effect on water temperature as the sun’s thermal energy has been absorbed at water surface. In the great depths of the ocean the water temperature is harshly cold. Lastly, sound is transmitted about 4.5times faster in water than in air.

With all these natural obstacles, human activities underwater are largely restrained. Therefore I hope to make use of art as the medium and solution, to create and present an oceanic setting in which all these obstacles are overcame, and provide an opportunity for viewers to experience and witness the existence of the magnificent underwater world physically, making use of 4 of the 5 senses: vision(sight), olfaction(smell), audition(hearing) and if possible, mechanoreception(touch).

The final product, the Oceanarium, can be viewed as a space created for viewers to deeply contemplate and immerse in one’s own thoughts; to appreciate the wonders of undersea and nature, to allow one’s imagination to run wild and spark the fire of creativity; or simply a place to relax and escape from the busy routine of real life. Most importantly, the Oceanarium is not, unlike real underwater surroundings, supposed to be in any way suffocating or suppressive but rather, a pleasing experience. There is not much vigorous movement or struggle, just stillness, peace and serenity. It gives you time and space to contemplate, imagine and reflect, and a chance for absolute self-interpretation and relation.

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