The Lost City Hydrothermal Field

An international team of scientists has discovered a new hydrothermal field near the Gigante Seamount in the Azores, a rare finding, The team, including scientists from the EU Horizon 2020-funded project ATLAS, have been surveying the largely untouched seas of the Azores, an archipelago in the mid-Atlantic which harbours some of the most important deep-sea ecosystems in the Atlantic Ocean. The scientists on this expedition have deployed baited cameras around the seamounts to attract pelagic fish and dived the Luso late at night to capture new and adapted species, allowing us to better understand the biodiversity of the region. The valuable information provided by these images will aid the sustainable management of deep-sea ecosystems and maintain the wealth of services the ocean provides us.

Only of course the visualization of this world has yet to show any impacts of the human action upon the planet, the hydrothermal fissure being over 9 KM in depth, and it’s geographical positioning on the sea currents superhighway. In essence these are, even at particulate level, pristine natural environments.

I am drawn to the imaged future, and I wanted to work in ‘speculative documentary’, creating stories in a metaphorical way, dedicated to critically questioning the documentary gesture. To show this I have adopted a false photographical capture in this underwater space to create works around fictional creatures, based on studies of fauna and flora known at depth.

To create a deception with the camera, has allowed me to introduce, the yet to be discovered effects of the human population above.  All the fantastical and freaks of these depths (the imagined ecosystem) have been created in studio using the plastics and plastic discards found in our seas  – only 5KM – 8KM higher.

The project looks to explore falsehood and truths, around environmental reporting, drawing out the deeper conversations about the future of deep-sea environmental stability.  With the photography, the project also plays on the human need to See to believe, where belief is based on evidence. Believe to see means that your “evidence” is created to fit your beliefs. Here we play in the middle of that Venn.