Daily Update: Art on the seafloor
25 deg 53.39S
Longitude: 69 deg 33.60E
Wind Direction: SE
Wind Speed: 12 Knots
Sea State 3
Swell(s) Height: 8-10 Foot
Sea Temperature: 78°F (25.9°C)
Barometric Pressure: 1014.0 MB
Visibility: 18+ Nautical Miles
artist Josh Simpson makes glass Planets like this one, which
we placed at the newly-discovered vent site.
By Amy Nevala
Central Indian Ridge has provided us many treasures. Rocks
flecked with golden pyrite. Cool, salty seawater samples.
Shrimps, snails and barnacles. Last night we gave an offering
in return, a grapefruit-sized glass Planet created
by a Massachusetts artist.
Dan Fornari met glass blower Josh Simpson 20 years ago at a New
York art fair, when Dan was in graduate school and Josh just
starting his art career. Bound by their shared interest in the
arts and oceans, they maintained a friendship and for the past
five years, Dan has seeded the mid-ocean ridges and hydrothermal
vents in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Ocean with at least
a dozen of Joshs Planets.
thinks of them as artifacts that get reincorporated into the
Earth and left for future generations to find, like the glass
ampoules found in the Pharaohs tombs in Egypt.
Im hoping that hundreds of years from now, archeologists will be
confounded by these little Planets, Josh wrote in an email today from his
home in Western Massachusetts. Im hoping people will find them and
wonder what on Earth they are.
From Indian Ocean vents to Paris Notre Dame Cathedral to the Hawaiian Islands,
Josh sprinkles his Planets worldwide. I love the fact that ROV Jason and Alvin have
placed my Planets in locations on our Earth that have never been explored before, said
Joshs elaborate Planets evolved from simple glass marbles he made for local
eighth grade students as a way to teach them about glass blowing. Eventually
the marbles became larger, more elaborate spheres patterned with colorful twists,
spirals and trapped air bubbles.
Each one of my Planets is meant to be a new little world, waiting to be
explored, said Josh. I always try to include small details on the
surface or interior that you might miss if you dont look closely or examine
with a magnifying glass.
They captivate their audience. Place one on the table
in the main lab on Knorr and
scientists vie to cradle the cool, smooth glass in their palms. They
hold the heavy glass to the light and sigh as they point out a
green continent, a purple wave, an orange anemone.
Each time Dan explores a vent, he secures a Planet
on ROV Jason, Alvin or
the elevator. Then he carefully picks a seafloor home. Yesterday he
had ROV Jason plunk a blue and pink swirled Planet near the base
of a black smoker chimney, christening the new hydrothermal vent
site we discovered just a day ago.
Swarms of shrimp descended, and the Planet disappeared
from sight under their white, wiggly bodies.
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