Prof. Benjamin Kidder Hodges has recently published an article entitled ‘Atmospheric Visions: Mirages, methane seeps and ‘clam-monsters’ in the Yellow Sea’ in the journal Shima. The article uses Chinese folklore and mythology about the origin of mirages to provide new ways of thinking about deep sea ecology. He brings together scholarship on atmospheres, multispecies research and island studies approaches. Taking examples from ancient bestiaries, pop culture and contemporary science, Hodges shows how narratives and speculation are used to make sense of the unknown.
Prof. Hodges has also just exhibited “Sea City Clam Tower” a sound art installation that uses this same mythology around mirages in order to think about ecological changes in the context of Macao. The exhibition, a collaboration with sound artist Crystal W. M. Chan, recreates an otherworldly version of a traditional seafood restaurant. Into an environment composed of fish tanks and styrofoam containers are projected 3d animated versions of sea life and construction projects. The installation evokes both future development and the history of Macao as a fishing community. Chan’s sound piece brings together field recordings from traditional restaurants, eerie underwater soundscapes and music that evokes a feeling of precarity when facing ecological and environmental changes. The exhibition runs from July 23rd to Oct 3rd at the Macao Contemporary Art Center Navy Yard No. 1 as part of the Art Macao Biennale 2021.