200 metros, by Andy Gracie, wins the production residency Ciencias del Mar

The winning project of the grant Ciencias del Mar, called by LABoral and the Port Authority of Gijón, the work will create an immersive installation from data obtained in the area of the Aviles Canyon

Published: May 12, 2015
200 metros, by Andy Gracie, wins the production residency Ciencias del Mar

'200 metros' consists of an immersive installation from sensor and mapping data obtained by some form of underwater drone in the are of the Aviles Canyon. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

Andy Gracie, a British artist living in Asturias since 2008, has won the production grant Ciencias del Mar, called jointly by the Port Authority of Gijon and LABoral. His project 200 metros consists of an immersive installation from sensor and mapping data obtained by a form of underwater drone in the are of the Aviles Canyon. The piece resulting from this research will be shown this summer at the Exhibition Hall of the Port Authority of Gijon.

200 metros explores the physical, phenomenological, geological and sensorial changes occurring at the border between the sea and the deep sea. The deep sea is a great unkonwn, as a matter of fact it is more unkown than the surface of the moon. According to Andy Gracie, it is “a place and an environment that offers multiple narratives and physical, emotional and phylosophical contexts”. For this exploration, the artists focuses on the Aviles Canyon, an abyssal trench that runs, around seven miles from the coast, between Colunga and Navia, with a depth of 4.750 metres. The Aviles Canyon is one of the most important and diverse ecosystems of the Cantabrian Sea platform, both in geological and biological terms.

During his production residency at LABoral the artist will design a hybrid underwater device combining standard and DIY elements and fast prototyping.

This sculptural as well as functional device will be equipped with a sonar, a camera and a hydrophone for mapping and registering phenomena in the deep area. Somehow, even though it is not autonomous, this device can be seen as an underwater drone. Hence, a ship expedition will be undertaken to the area where the Aviles Canyon abruptly reaches depths of more than 200 metres. The data collected by this device will describe changes in light spectra, sound phenomena existing in the depths, as well as the contours of the sea bed within a radius of 150 metres showing the gentle slopes towards the sudden descents on the edge of the Canyon.

All these data, as well as the documentation collected during the research, will be included in the immersive installation that will be showcased in the exhibition space, with which Gracie intends to provide and artistic answer to the scientific activity and the research carried out during the underwater exploration.

The jury that granted the production grant Ciencias del Mar was made up by Miguel Vallina Álvarez, Director of Coordination and External Relationships at the Port Authority of Gijón; Semíramis González Fernández, independent curator; and Patricia Villanueva Illanes, Responsible for Exhibitions at LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial. It has positively assessed the artistic and cultural value of the project, its suitability for the context of the call and the use of resources of the Production Centre of LABoral. The research on the deep sea of the Asturian coast, as well as the development of a self-made tool for the collection and artistic representation of data is relevant for other artistic and scientific contexts.

The artist
The artistic work of Andy Gracie (London, 1967) lies at the intersection between art and science and uses scientific theory and practice as an artistic means to explore the relationship between man and the post-natural world and the notion of reality. His work proposes scenarios of exchange between natural and man-made systems and encompasses genres and disciplines such as installation, robotics, sound, video and biological practices. More recently, his activity involves cultural analysis of astrobiological science and research based on the space and notions on the origin of life, together with new analysis of its boundaries.

His creations have been shown in the UK, France, Spain, Austria, Germany, Slovenia, U.S.A., Japan, Mexico and Australia. He has been commissioned with the production of new works for the Arnolfini Centre (Bristol, United Kingdom), several entities from Barcelona and north-east England and has taken part in festivals such as ISEA, Artbots, Radar, Ars Electronica, as well as the robotics exhibition for the Lille 2004 European Capital of Culture. Andy Gracie has received honourable mentions at VIDA Concurso Internacional Arte y Vida Artificial (2007) and Ars Electronica (2007).

He has also written many texts and articles for magazines, web forums, catalogues and books and has worked as teacher in England and has conducted many workshops around the world, taking part in several research projects at Huddersfield University, United Kingdom. Together with Marc Duseiller and Yashas Shetty he founded the project Hackteria, a web forum and a series of workshops where artists can work combining electronics with biological techniques.

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