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Explore the sea 

Arts and science expertise at the University of Hull are being brought together as part of a major new exhibition which explores our relationship with the sea.

21st March 2017

Offshore: artists explore the sea will be shown at Ferens Art Gallery and Hull Maritime Museum (the first ever joint exhibition between the two) and is an enthralling collection of new commissions and existing works which examines many facets of our relationship with the sea: from threats to corals to myths of sea monsters, with a number of new commissions focused on Hull’s maritime heritage. 

Curated by Invisible Dust, the family-friendly exhibition includes works from leading artists including prolific fantasy author China Miéville, Tacita Dean and Martin Parr, plus University of Hull Faculty of Arts, Cultures and Education lecturers John Wedgwood Clarke and Rob Mackay, whose brand new poetry and sound commission about the Humber Estuary - created in collaboration with the University’s marine biologists Professor Mike Elliott, Dr Magnus Johnson and Dr Joerg D Hardege - uncovers some fascinating facts about our region. 

John Wedgwood Clarke said:

“Above 8, the title of the poetry soundscape we’ve been commissioned to make for the Offshore exhibition, refers to current pH of the sea and the impact on chemical communications between organisms of its predicted fall to 7.7 by the end of this century. 

“When my colleague Dr Joerg D Hardege, from the Faculty of Science and Engineering, told me that this would effectively render many aquatic organisms ‘blind’  I realised that this was something that needed to be written about. He also told me that without the Harbour Ragworm, an organism susceptible to this pH change, there would be no mud in the Humber Estuary – that this little worm weaves the mud together into stable banks.  

“So we had the big idea and the tiny, strange, overlooked organism – all the ingredients necessary to make a local piece of work with global relevance that explores the rich ecology and human history of the Humber.  You’ll hear the sounds of waves breaking, cargo ships, the ferry port, human voices, the mud, and poems about much more, as we take a poetry sound-journey from Spurn Point to South Ferriby, via Paull, Salt End, The Ferry Terminal, Hull, Hull Museums and Far Ings.”  

Rob added:

“We’ll be installing loudspeakers in the Trawler Corridor in the Maritime Museum in order to create an immersive listening zone. I’ve been capturing the soundscapes of the Humber estuary from a range of perspectives, mainly using a 3D sound technique known as ambisonics. This will enable me to re-spatialise these soundscapes in the Maritime Museum, combined with recordings of John reciting his poetry.”

Offshore: artists explore the sea opens 1 April at Ferens Art Gallery and Hull Maritime Museum and entry is free.

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