Exploring Deep Sea Volcanoes off the Coast of Barbados: An Artist’s Perspective

Edited by Cecelia Dailey, this video has been featured in the exhibition Above Between Below. Mary Edna Fraser was invited on the Research Vessel Atlantis by Dr. Cindy Lee Van Dover, chair of the Division of Marine Science and Conservation & director of the Marine Lab of Duke University, supported by a NSF grant. Artists were challenged to capture the essence of discovery as scientists mapped the seafloor, made measurements, sampled zooplankton, and deployed the remotely-operated underwater vehicle (ROV) JASON to collect benthic invertebrates. Sitting in the control room of the JASON, Fraser was able to ask the pilot to stop to observe the otherworldly scene and make art.

The excitement of working alongside world renowned scientists and the incredible Woods Hole crew is captured in this video. Scientists were inspired by the art being created on board from video monitors, maps, and creatures pulled from the deep. Fraser’s story shows her initiation into this foreign world, where artists seldom see research in action, and reveals the synergy created among the 55 people on board as the excursion progresses.

This video is part of the project Art & Science: Envisioning Ocean Depths, supported by Duke University. The collaboration has resulted in a stirring portrayal of the wondrous world of the deep ocean floor off the coast of Barbados. Cindy has a historical vision of the deep sea, paired with an enthusiasm for art as a means of reaching a broader audience. United by the excitement of discovery, Fraser’s story shows artists and scientists working together and inspiring each other in mutual wonderment.