The Sunken Forest invites divers to explore a mysterious underwater playground
One can’t help but wonder what archaeologists will do with future generations of Jason deCaires Taylor. If his creation of strange heads sunk in France gave them food for thought, then the latest project of the British artist, which consists of the installation of a sculpture of an underwater forest that he describes as “the first of the genre in the world ”, is no less mysterious and stimulating.
The Ayia Napa Underwater Sculpture Museum (MUSAN) was commissioned by the Municipality of Ayia Napa in Cyprus and the Department of Fisheries and Marine Research for a budget of 1 million euros (approximately 1.18 million of dollars).
Recalling the natural underwater forest discovered off the coast of England several years ago, MUSAN is located in the clear Mediterranean waters off Ayia Napa and consists of a total of 93 works of art that have been installed on the seabed at depths of up to 10 m (32 ft). The sculptures still look quite fresh and new in the gallery’s images, but the idea is that they will naturally deteriorate over time and slowly become covered in marine life. Many of them depict relatively simple trees, although some venture into the surreal, including children pointing video cameras somewhat menacingly at an adult.
“Works of art, especially those depicting trees, are designed to attract marine life on a large scale and as such will grow organically,” explains the artist. “These installations are placed at varying depths from the seabed to its surface and arranged to resemble a path through a dense underwater forest. Some of the tree shapes will float just below the surface so that all of the the structure provides a complex environment for sea life at all levels of the water column.
“Among the carved trees, we can see children playing. They remind us of our need for the natural world as a place to explore, discover and stimulate our imaginations. Over the past 50 years, children have become increasingly no longer excluded from the wild places that once existed The children of the forest, camera in hand playing hide and seek in the woods, point their lenses at the human race, hoping for a future in which the mystery and magic of nature will return. our oceans is as pressing as the need to reestablish our connection to the natural world. “
To carry out the project, the sculptures were first painstakingly created in a workshop on dry land before being transferred to boats (they appear to be at least partly concrete and are described as “inert materials with neutral ph “by the artist). They were then transported to the location and set up on the seabed with the help of a team of divers following a floor plan to ensure they were positioned correctly.
MUSAN has now been officially opened and is open to scuba divers, free divers and snorkelers – so if you are in the area bring protective goggles.
Source: Jason deCaires Taylor