Tag Archives: ocean

The “Sea Organ” Makes Perpetual Music with Ocean Waves 

While many of us are content to listen to the natural sounds of ocean waves, architect Nikola Bašić took things a step further and faciliated a means for ocean currents to produce actual music. Behold: the Sea Organ. Constructed in 2005, the acoustic jetty spans some 230 feet (70 meters) and incorporates 35 polyethylene tubes of varying diameter. As waves flood each tube underwater, displaced air is forced through large whistles tuned to play seven chords of five tones. Day in and day out, music seems to emanate from the ground, a playful interplay between nature and design. Listening to the video above, the sound is somewhat like random chords played by a huge calliope.

linssimato/Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Bašić’s Sea Organ won the 2006 European Prize for Urban Public Space, and was inspired by a 1986 piece in San Francisco of similar design called the Wave Organ by Peter Richards and George Gonzalez. (via IFLScience)

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Exquisite Marine Life Specimens Imagined in Glass by Steffen Dam 

steffan-5All images courtesy Joanna Bird Gallery unless otherwise noted

As a child, Danish artist Steffen Dam loved poring over his grandparents’ collection of scientific books and cabinets of insects. This fascination of how we catalogue and understand the natural world followed through to his artistic glass career, where Dam creates highly detailed “Cabinets of Curiosities” that mimic oceanic specimens suspended in glass jars and plates. The pieces are usually displayed inside light boxes to better illuminate every minute detail from the fragile tentacles of a jellyfish to a flourish of bubbles that seem to dance around many of his specimens.

A quote from David Revere McFadden’s essay Between Art and Nature, The Glass of Steffen Dam:

Steffen Dam invites the viewer to relish the sheer beauty of his “specimens,” but also to reflect on the meaning of nature as a mirror of the human mind and spirit. Dam has “captured” nature in his work, but he assiduously avoids simple imitation of life; the artist shies away from what he refers to as “cheap tricks in glass.” He seeks to strike a “balance between fiction and reality.” While his work is in no way intended to serve as pedagogic tools, as specimens in “cabinets of curiosities” often were, they are intended to engage the eye and stimulate the imagination. Knowledge about the forms, structures, surfaces, and colors of true natural specimens is not to be found in Dam’s displays of crystal cylinders, but another kind of knowledge—that of the visual poetry of endlessly varied forms—is freely offered. Dam’s little creatures, although frozen in glass, remind of how we read and feel both time and change.

Dam most recently had several pieces on view at Chicago’s SOFA Expo through Heller Gallery. You can also see several additional works at Joanna Bird.

Photo by Christopher Jobson for Colossal / SOFA Expo Chicago










Courtesy Heller Gallery

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Alexander Semenov Continues to Photograph the Earth’s Most Fragile Marine Wildlife Near the Arctic Circle 

Eutonina indicans / © Alexander Semenov

For the last several years, marine photographer Alexander Semenov (previously) has lead the divers team at Moscow State University’s White Sea Biological Station located just south of the Artic Circle. Semenov directs scientific dives in extremely cold and harsh conditions to document sea creatures seldom seen anywhere else on Earth. From giant jellyfish to the tiniest of unknown sea worms, the photographer captures almost all of the creatures you see here out in the wild, without the convenience of a laboratory or studio.

It’s estimated that nearly 80% of all aquatic life in the world’s oceans has yet to be studied or even discovered. In response to this potentially vast world of unknown lifeforms, coupled with Semenov’s unceasing interest in marine biology, an ambitious trek across the world’s oceans has been planned for 2016. The Aquatilis Expedition is a proposed journey that will take a team of divers, scientists, and videographers to locations around the globe for the purposes of identifying new species, an odyssey on par with the advertures of Jacques Cousteau.

Many of Semenov’s best photos are available as prints, and he shares regular updates on both Facebook and Flickr.

Cyanea rainbow / © Alexander Semenov

Syllidae from the Sea of Okhotsk / © Alexander Semenov

Cestum veneris, Italy / © Alexander Semenov

Beroe cucumis / © Alexander Semenov

Cyanea nude / © Alexander Semenov

Clione limacina / © Alexander Semenov

Sarsia tubulosa attacked by Cyanea capillata / © Alexander Semenov

Swimming file clam, Australia / © Alexander Semenov

Aglantha digitale / © Alexander Semenov

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Scientists Discover the First Biofluorescent Reptile, a ‘Glowing’ Hawksbill Sea Turtle 

No this isn’t a clip from the latest Miyazaki anime, this is the first sighting of a real fluorescent turtle.

Marine biologist David Gruber of City University of New York, was recently in the Solomon Islands to film a variety of biofluorescent fish and coral, when suddenly a completey unexpected sight burst into the frame: a glowing yellow and red sea turtle. The creature is a critically endangered hawksbill sea turtle, and until this sighting last July, the phenomenon had never been documented in turtles, let alone any other reptile.

Biofluorescence is the ability for an organism to reflect blue light and re-emit it as a different color, not to be confused with bioluminescence, where organisms produce their own light.

Many undersea creatures like coral, sharks, and some shrimp have shown the ability to show single green, red, or orange colors under the right lighting conditions, but according to National Geographic, no organisms have shown the ability to emit two distinct colors like the hawksbill. As seen in the video, the coloring appears not only in mottled patterns on the turtle’s shell, but even extends within the cracks of its head and feet. Gruber mentions this could be a mixture of both glowing red glowing algae attached to the turtle, but the yellow fluorescence is undoubtedly part of the animal.

Watch the video above to see the moment of discovery and learn more on Nat Geo.

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Matty Smith’s Photographs Display Vibrant Life Lurking Just Below Sea Level 

“Physalia Physalis” – Bushrangers Bay, NSW Australia

Appropriately titled Over/Under, Matty Smith's series showcases the dual environments that exist just above and below sea level. Smith focuses on images right at dusk in order to expose the vibrant colors that shine within the dark waters. Each shot is divided by a wavy strip of ocean just above the center of the photograph. Fish and coral live below the horizon as seagulls and sunsets populate the upper half of the photos.

Tricky photographs to shoot from a technical standpoint, Smith uses a strobe light for the bottom half of the image to ensure that both the animals above and below water are highlighted prominently.

The Australian photographer views each half and half image he captures as a landscape photograph, and prefers environments with depth and attitude over blue sunny skies. Typically Smith scouts his locations via snorkeling expeditions. “For me one of the most wondrous parts of any dive is the moment that the water engulfs my mask as my head slips below the surface,” says Smith. “I think it’s the suspense of the unknown of what lies beneath, the transitional part of moving from one element to the next that feels so magical and the thought of what alien creatures I might encounter.” Many of his photos are available as prints. (via My Modern Met)

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“Smiling Assassin” – American Crocodile, Jardines de la Reina, Cuba.

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“A Silky Encounter 1” – Jardines de la Reina, Cuba

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“A Silky Encounter 2” – Jardines de la Reina, Cuba

“Bluebottle Army” – Bluebottle cnidarian, Bushrangers Bay, NSW Australia

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“Crimson Tide” – Waratah Anemones, Port Kembla, NSW Australia

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“Ocean Rose” – Bass Point, NSW Australia

“A Shock of Blue” – Bushrangers Bay, NSW Australia

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“A Splash of Yellow” – Sargassum Seaweed, Bushranger Bay, NSW Australia

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Photographer Jorge Cervera Hauser Captures Sea Creatures Against Sun-Drenched Oceanscapes 


Jorge Cervera Hauser produces intimate snapshots of underwater creatures, effortlessly capturing their magnificence as they glide through the sea in schools or pairs. Each image displays moments that look as if they were captured in a split-second, yet simultaneously appear dramatically staged. Most of the images included were taken either in Baja or the Mexican Caribbean, and the image of the shark gliding alone through turquoise water was taken at Tiger Beach in the Bahamas. No matter the location, each photograph was taken far away from human life and miles out in the open ocean.

The Mexico City-based artist is also a film producer, yet his true passion lies with the animals he captures within his photography. Along with a few friends he runs a marine conservation NGO called Pelagic Life, which aims to conserve the Mexican open ocean through eco-tourism. Through his organization Cervera Hauser produced the documentary “Mexico Pelagico” which has already been released in Mexico and will be available on Netflix June 1st. More images of Cervera Hauser’s underwater voyages can be seen on his online portfolio here.










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Layered Glass Sculptures Mimic the Everyday Drama of the Natural World 

White Water

White Water, all images provided by K. William LeQuier









Curl No. 5

Curl No. 5



Glass artist K. William LeQuier‘s glass work is inspired by the drama of the natural world and its everyday events. His sculptures reflect this inspiration by mimicking the natural movements of the sea and its creatures. Each sculpture is held steady by a simple black armature, a hint to the artist’s hand involved in the creation of each glass sculpture.

After years of blowing glass vessels LeQuier moved to the sandblasting process where he learned he could generate textures similar to natural erosion. In addition to forming works that appear as waves, he creates work reminiscent of sea urchins, sponges, and anemones. Most interesting about the sculptures are their layered composition, a complexity that could easily be looked over due to the high level of skill apparent in each sea-themed object.

Currently LeQuier lives and works in Vermont with his wife Mary Angus. His work can be found in the permanent collections of museums across the country including (but not limited to) the American Glass Museum, Indianapolis Art Museum, National Liberty Museum, and Philadelphia Museum of Art. (via My Modern Met)

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