The Tidalectics Portfolio showcases an interplay between printmaking and marine biology, by presenting the visual response of the artist to the research of the scientist. It follows both the historical tradition of graphically depicting the natural history of the ocean and the contemporary story of pressures on marine environments. Eleven international printmakers have been invited and connected with eleven ocean- and marine biology researchers. They created a visual response on the scientific research.
The research unravels the environmental mechanisms at play and consequences for certain organisms such as coral and algae. There is focus on species such as sponges and manatees, on ocean winds and currents. Human ingenuity has harnessed bacterial filtering in traditional salt harvesting. Humans can now also propagate baby corals. We keep discovering hidden patterns in the sea and learn more about the influential role of life forms such as bacteriophages in the state of microbialised seas.
In the age of the Anthropocene, the ontology of the ocean as an endless amorphous reservoir has changed towards seeing it as an entity, subjected to the effects of human actions. One of these ontological oceanic imaginaries is tidalectics. To Barbadian poet Kamau Brathwaite the ocean signifies a “tidal dialectic”, rooted in rhythms expressing anti-colonial sentiments. It draws on the rhythmic fluidity and cyclic movements of water. The concept of tidalectics has been adopted by curator Stefanie Hessler as a starting point to formulate an oceanic worldview, that engages differently with the ocean. “The fluidity and ripples allowing us to think of hybridity, cross-cultural syncretism, incompleteness, and fragmentation.” It envisions a dynamic merging and moving between the arts, sciences, history and environmental studies.