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Humans in the Ocean 1: when HOV Alvin portholes meet the lens of art-1

NDSF submersible and vehicle programs exist to be used in their traditional role to serve science, but they are also increasingly called to act in “non-traditional” capacities to satisfy human curiosity and cultivate broader human knowledge about the ocean.


Rebecca Rutstein, currently sailing as an artist-at-sea on the Atlantis cruise AT42-05, is a visual artist who is inspired by geology, microbiology, and marine science. Rutstein is interested in connecting people to the deep ocean in order to forge a greater understanding of what’s at stake in the face of climate change, while also shedding light on places and processes hidden from view.


Rutstein met Prof. Mandy Joye in September 2017 at a National Academies of Science Keck Future’s initiative workshop. They immediately connected by sharing passion for chemical and microbial process in the extremes of the deep ocean. Prior to joining the cruise on Atlantis this fall, Rebecca was awarded the Delta Visiting Chair for Global Understanding at the University of Georgia as well as a solo exhibition at the Georgia Museum of Art (“Out of the Darkness,” which opened November 1). She has created a 22 foot-tall painting and a 64 foot-long interactive sculptural installation that incorporated Prof. Joye’s previous data and research from Guaymas Basin.


Rutstein had her first HOV Alvin dive during Atlantis cruise 42-03 in October and her second dive during the current cruise. “I hope to create a window into this world through visual experiences and more immersive, multi-sensory installations,” said Rutstein. “By engaging with the broader public through the lens of art, I hope to instill a sense of wonder of the deep ocean that can foster a dialogue about conservation and environmental stewardship.”

[HOV is operated by #NDSF_WHOI. This cruise is supported by @NSF_GEO]

Picture Copyright: Rebecca Rutstein