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NYC - Public Lecture Series feat. Emily Driscoll & Mara G. Haseltine


Art of the Invisible Ocean

This event will be streamed live. Please visit our Live Stream page at 7pm on the evening of the event to view the lecture for free.

In a drop of seawater live millions or even billions of tiny organisms and they are the foundation of the ocean food web. In fact, 99% of ocean life is “invisible” to humans, or so small it cannot be seen with the naked eye. This invisible world is teaming with plankton, or organisms that drift in the ocean’s currents. These plankton can be tiny plants, larval forms of larger marine life, bacteria or other small organisms. Together they form the basis of the ocean’s foodchain, feed marine life as large as whales, sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and are responsible for creating half the oxygen on our planet. Disruptions to these planktonic ecosystems alter the atmosphere and food web.

Mara G. Haseltine was an artist-in-residence on a Tara Oceans /Expeditions to study the health of the ocean by examining populations of plankton. She brought the Explorers Club flag # 75 with her, which she returned in 2011 at the Annual Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria. She has traveled globe and also collected plankton on her own in some remote places like as oasis in Siwa Egypt. She was planning to study plankton structures to create living oyster and coral reefs in the shapes of them, inspired by beautiful renditions of the turn of the century artist and scientist Ernst Haeckel. Alarmingly, as she peered through the microscope, she found strands wrapped around the plankton. Upon further inspection, the strands were microscopic plastics – or micro-plastics- and she found them in all of her plankton samples from around the world, even in remote waters and this was only the pollution that was visible through the microscope. Horrified by her findings, she decided to began a project called La Boheme: A Portrait of Today's Oceans in Peril, a uranium infused glass sculpture of a tintinnid plankton ensnared in plastic, that she found while on board Tara Expeditions off the coast of Chile, to inspire conversation and draw attention to the unknown threats of micro-plastics and other pollutants causing an acid increase and disruption of planktonic ecosytems in the ocean.



Documentary filmmaker Emily V. Driscoll filmed Haseltine as she created her uranium glass sculpture, and produced a short documentary Invisible Ocean: Plankton and Plastic, which explorers the importance of plankton, threats of micro-plastics and how art can communicate challenging and critical environmental issues. The film also features cell biologist Christian Sardet, of Tara Oceans/Expeditions and the Plankton Chronicles, and Mark Anthony Browne of National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis.

Once Haseltine completed La Boheme: A Portrait of Today's Oceans in Peril, she created a performance piece around it. Inspired by Puccini’s “La Boheme” in which poor Rodolfo falls in love with young grisette Mimi, who is dying of consumption, Haseltine interpreted the sculpture – and oceans and plankton – as the sick Mimi and she is Rodolfo. Haseltine created a film of opera singer Joseph Bartning serenading her uranium glass sculpture.



Invisible Ocean: Plankton and Plastic (Dir. Emily V. Driscoll, 9 minutes) will be shown, followed by Mara G. Haseltine’s discussion of creating sustainable living reefs with designs based on microscopic forms, and the moment she found micro-plastics wrapped around plankton. Then Mara G. Haseltine’s film La Boheme: A Portrait of Today's Oceans in Peril (5 min) will be shown, followed by a Q&A with Mara G. Haseltine and Emily V. Driscoll.

Emily V. Driscoll is a science video director/producer and the founder of BonSci Films, a production company specializing in science and art documentaries. Her films about invasive species, restoring wild oysters to New York Harbor, the threats of microplastics, and preserving fireflies and darkness in the environment, have screened internationally at museums, universities and film festivals, and have aired on PBS stations in the U.S.. She has launched grassroots campaigns for her films to bring people together with lectures, music, food tastings and art and combine them with local restoration projects and efforts. Emily is an Explorers Club fellow. She also teaches science video production at New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program and received her master's degree from the same program in 2007. In addition to longform programming, she has produced short videos for NPR’s Science Friday, Audubon Magazine and NBC Universal on subjects ranging from crystal formation in chocolate to New York City’s invasive cockroaches to the physics of badminton.

Mara G. Haseltine is an internationally renowned artist known for her sculptural renditions of microscopic life forms. She was an early pioneer in the translation of bioinformatics into three-dimensional forms. She is an ardent environmentalist and co-founder of The Green Salon, an international think tank devoted to environmental solutions. In 2007, Haseltine created New York City’s first solar-powered oyster reef. She has since devoted her attention to exploring the most efficient and beautiful designs to create oyster and coral reefs. These reefs filter water, create habitats for other organisms, and form reef breaks along coast lines. In 2011, Haseltine was an artist-in-residence at University College of Dublin in Ireland and Tara Oceans. She was awarded Flag 75 from the Explorer’s Club for her three-year voyage around the world studying the ocean’s relationship to climate change. Her current body of work combines microscopy as inspiration for reef design. Haseltine frequently collaborates with scientists, technologists and engineers to practice Geotherapy–art which heals the planet. She was artist-in-residence for Imagine Science Films for the years 2012-2013.

Haseltine received her undergraduate degree in Studio Art and Art History from Oberlin College and her master’s degree from the San Francisco Art Institute with a double degree in New Genres and Sculpture. She has exhibited and worked throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, and at the National Museum of Trinidad and Tobago in the Port of Spain, Trinidad. She has taught at The New School in NYC, and she is a member of both the Sculptors Guild of NYC as well as the Explorer’s Club. She works out of Brooklyn, New York. Her work has been published in The Times, Le Metro, The Guardian, and Architectural Record.

Date: 12/15/2014

Time: 6:00pm Reception, 7:00pm Lecture

Location: Club Headquarters, 46 E 70th Street, New York, NY, 10021

Member Ticket Price: Free

Guest Ticket Price: $20

Student Ticket Price:

Free for EC Student Members, $5 w/ a valid Student ID

Reservation Notes:

Reservations are secured on a first-come, first-serve basis.

To secure a reservation, please call us a 212.628.8383 or email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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