The underwater sculpture of Jason de Caires Taylor

RTXVODX.jpg "The Silent Evolution," by British artist Jason de Caires Taylor, lies between Cancun and Isla Mujeres off the coast of Mexico. Taylor used 'life casts' made from materials that encourage coral growth to build the installation on the sea bed, forming a new home for aquatic creatures. — REUTERS/Jorge Silva


  1. It’s as if we took Dr.Who’s “Weeping Angels” underwater. Perhaps the constant gaze of the fish keeps them from moving?

  2. For me, these statues evoke the memorials in a graveyard, meloncholic and morose in appearance, and yet they were positioned to encourage life. Quite interesting and stunning photography as well.

  3. “Full fathom five thy father lies;
    Of his bones are coral made;
    Those are pearls that were his eyes;
    Nothing of him that doth fade,
    But doth suffer a sea-change
    Into something rich and strange.”

    … As Shakespeare had it.

  4. “She sang beyond the genius of the sea.
    The water never formed to mind or voice,
    Like a body wholly body, fluttering
    Its empty sleeves; and yet its mimic motion
    Made constant cry, caused constantly a cry,
    That was not ours although we understood,
    Inhuman, of the veritable ocean.”

    … As Wallace Stevens had it

  5. And here’s a video of some people swimming with the statue, during the recent Cancun climate talks:

    – via Greenpeace Video

  6. Man, that’s going to give archaeologists fits in a few thousand years, trying to explain what those human statues are doing underwater.

  7. “That is not dead which can eternal lie, yet with stranger aeons, even Death may die.”

    … As H.P. Lovecraft said it.

  8. I’ve had that as a dream. Not that far to the surface, but just can’t breathe, just can’t move. I think it was also in “The Piano”, except she did ultimately find the will to swim.

  9. What exactly do you think the “materials” used are? I’ve made several human busts and have been trying to grow samples of lichen on them without much luck.

    1. Bookburn, you need to provide proper PH. Use the beer+buttermilk+moss in the blender trick to get a good coating of moss on concrete or plaster. Lichen is harder; let the object age a year or two with occasional applications of milk, then rub wood-rot powder and lichens all over it and it might take hold. Make sure it’s sitting in a place where lichens already grow, so the lighting is right.

    1. > Anyone else look at this and think “Weeping Angels?”

      Oh yeah. Did I ever–I can’t stop looking at them now in case they leave quantum lock.

  10. The seaweed is always greener
    In somebody else’s lake
    You dream about going up there
    But that is a big mistake
    Just look at the world around you
    Right here on the ocean floor
    Such wonderful things surround you
    What more is you lookin’ for?

    …As Sebastian put it, in The Little Mermaid, 1989.

  11. THE sweet enthusiast, on a rock reclin’d,
    With transport listen’d to the dashing waves;
    Her snowy garments swam upon the wind,
    And Silence spread her wing amid the caves.

    Now sportive Fancy did her eye-lids close,
    And Memory brought the happy past to view;
    A group of visionary friends arose,
    And in a dance confus’d around her drew.

    Borne on Imagination’s ardent wing,
    Again a child, she skimm’d the yellow mead,
    Again threw pebbles in the cloud-pav’d spring–
    Again in baby gambols took the lead.

    And now, her childhood past, a busier scene
    Floats on the bosom of the silent night;
    Her lover’s form, all deck’d in sea-weeds green,
    Swam wet and shiv’ring in her startled sight.

    Light on the trembling surge he seem’d to stand;
    Pale was his face, loose hung his dripping hair,
    His shroud he held within his clay-cold hand,
    And, sighing deeply, threw his bosom bare.

    Then pointed Melancholy to the wave;
    ‘Say, wilt thou come, sweet love? behold my fate!
    This element hath been thy lover’s grave;
    Say, dost thou love me still–or dost thou hate?’

    In haste the beauteous dreamer op’d her eyes,
    To lose the vision from her rocky pillow;
    In vain, alas! whatever side she tries,
    The sprite remains, still pointing to the billow!

    And now a sterner look assum’d his face;
    ‘Thou dost not love me, or thou wouldst not stay,
    Come plunge, my love!–soon, soon shall we embrace!
    Midnight has past:–haste, haste, I must away!’

    The sweet enthusiast heard her lover groan;
    And sighing from the promontory’s steep,
    ‘See, dear-lov’d spirit!–I am thine alone!’
    She said; and plunging sought him ‘midst the deep.

    – As Charlotte Dacre had it

  12. Once, I did a wreck dive of a tugboat that was sunk for a movie and got pretty skeeved out. I couldn’t imagine how fast I’d suck through my tank if I dove here. Art? Sure, but still very creepy.

  13. The Drowned City

    There are none blush on earth, y-wis
    As do dames of the Town of Is.
    The red blood runs beneath their skin
    And feels its way and flows within,
    And men can see, as through a glass
    Each twisty turn, each crossing pass
    Of threaded vein and artery
    From heart to throat, from mouth to eye.
    This spun-glass skin, like spider-thread
    Is silver water, woven with red.
    For their excessive wickedness
    In days of old, was this distress
    Come on them, of transparency
    And openness to every eye.
    But still they’re proud, their haughty brows
    Circled with gold. . . .

    Deep in the silence of drowned Is
    Beneath the wavering precipice
    The church-spire in the thickened green
    Points to the trembling surface sheen
    From which descends a glossy cone
    A mirror-spire that mocks its own.
    Between these two the mackerel sails
    As did the swallow in the vales
    Of summer air, and he too sees
    His mirrored self amongst the trees
    That hangs to meet themselves, for here
    All things are doubled, and the clear
    Thick element is doubled too
    Finite and limited the view
    As though the world of roofs and rocks
    Were stored inside a glassy box.
    And damned and drowned transparent things
    Hold silent commerce. . . .

    This drowned world lies beneath a skin
    Of moving water, as within
    The glassy surface of their frown
    The ladies’ grieving passions drown
    And can be seen to ebb and flow
    In crimson as the currents go
    Amongst the bladderwrack and stones
    Amongst the delicate white bones.

    – As Christabel Madeleine Lamotte had it, via A. S. Byatt

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