While many have dreamed about living underwater, until humans can inhabit on the ocean floor, perhaps it’s best to simply assist those that already reside there. In his exhibition, Urban Reef, artist and founder of the Museo Subacuático de Arte (MUSA), Jason deCaires Taylor has done just that.
Humans may not always impact their natural environment in a positive way, but it can be astonishing to hear exactly how harmful our influence can be. According to research conducted by the World Resources Institute in collaboration with multiple environmental conservancy programs including, the International Coral Reef Action Network (ICRAN) and the Global Reef Monitoring Network (GRMN), over 60% of the worlds reefs are under direct threat by local sources. It is the slow destruction of such a delicate underwater ecosystem that has led artist Taylor to create sculptures of underwater homes to counter this negative result.
Taylor’s underwater dwellings mimic the Western suburban home but are quite practical for the reef inhabitants. The Urban Reef collection presents over 450 refuges meant to cater to the coral reef community. Located eight meters below the surface in waters off the coast of Cancun, Mexico, the sculptures have been placed in open areas and their design keeps the needs of local creatures in mind with textured roofs to encourage reef growth and multiple entrances formatted to allow visitors of different sizes to escape predators. Even the material of the structures has been carefully chosen to allow a positive impact on the growth of the coral and its dependent marine life.
Considering every detail of this project, it is clear that Taylor has taken art and marine conservation to an optimistically creative level.