How the Wonders of Climate Change Reveal Themselves to Vulgar Eyes / Ed
Ed - Architecture of Disaster

Rania Ghosn + El Hadi Jazairy, 2018

Among the many early handbooks on aquarium care is Ocean Gardens by the British artist and naturalist Noel Humphreys. In his opening chapter, Humphreys admonishes his reader: “To appreciate Nature, the mind requires a special education, without which the eye and the ear perceive but little of the miracles passing before them.” He adds, “the wonders of the ocean floor do not reveal themselves to vulgar eyes.” The aquarium was born out of such desire to represent to the senses—or make sense of—the inaccessible, expansive, and mysterious deep sea. As the locus of an unprecedented form of knowledge-production, the aquarium made visible scientific, socio-economic, technological, and political forces, entailing new modes and aesthetics for the production of evidence. It is both an aquatic cabinet of curiosities that surveys the terra incognita of the submarine world, and a miniature ocean, which gestures toward an unframeable whole. Wild speculations and fantasies are subsequently woven around the unfathomable abyss and “compressed into an easily comprehended menagerie, an oceanic garden in miniature, a submarine chamber of wonders.”