Aquatocene / Subaquatic quest for serenity

re:publica 2017

Short thesis: 

Aquatocene / The subaquatic quest for serenity investigates the phenomenon of underwater noise pollution created by humankind in the seas and oceans. The sound compositions are a re-mix between the bioacoustics of marine life (shrimps, fish, sea urchins etc.), the aquatic acoustics and the presence of human generated noise in the world’s oceans and seas. The project will be presented as a A-V performance.


The audio compositions of Aquatocene / The subaquatic quest for serenit encourage us to reflect upon the anthropogenic sonic impact on the underwater habitat and marine life, as well as illuminate awareness and underscore the importance of maintaining safe sound environments for animals living in the world’s oceans, seas, lakes and rivers. 

Over the last few years the artist had made a number of recordings using hydrophones in different locations around the globe. Underwater noise effects a great number of marine life forms which depend on the sub-aquatic sonic environment to survive. Despite the broad availability of popular aquatic sounds, we aren’t really aware that the underwater soundscape is as rich as the one heard by terrestrial creatures above water. Aside from lacking experience in terms of the fascinating diversity of marine sound, we are also not aware that sonic pollution caused by humans is already changing the soundscape of the waters and even the communication of its inhabitants.

When we look up to the sky, look into space and wonder about what is up there we sometimes forget that there is still a lot left for us to explore on the planet we live on. We know more about space than we know about the world’s seas and oceans, especially when it comes to sound perception underwater. Technological interventions into the ocean soundscape by ships, sonars and sound cannons (used in oil exploration) can create huge disturbances in fragile marine habitats and have been connected to a number of effects ranging from the beaching of whales to the »Lombard effect« where certain species themselves become louder to overcome background noise, thereby gradually increasing the intensity of the entire habitat.

Water habitats cover over 70% of the Earth’s surface. 97% of the world’s water is saltwater, 2% is fresh water in the form of ice and only the remaining 1% is drinking water, which is distributed around the planet very unevenly. The exploration of an ecosystem requires detailed study and observation. The ocean is the most complex, challenging, and harsh environment on Earth and accessing it requires specially designed tools and technology. The technological advances have finally reached the point 50 years ago that enables us to examine the ocean in a systematic, scientific, and non invasive way. Our ability to observe the ocean’s environment and its resident creatures has finally caught up with our imaginations and helped us to understand it in ways we could not even envision them before. 

Stage L1
Monday, May 8, 2017 - 16:30 to 17:00



freelance artist and researcher