AI generated animation, Digital Chromogenic prints

This project is in collaboration with Miljohn Ruperto

It's over for a number of unknown creatures in the depths of the ocean. The International Seabed Authority has granted mining companies rights to mine rare earth metals from the surface of the ocean floor. The area, known as The Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ) is an expansive 4.5 km2 area between Mexico and the Hawaiian islands. The mining companies have permission to explore and use 1 million km2. A group of marine biologists, initiated the Deep CCZ expedition, an attempt to catalog newly discovered species in these extraordinary depths and to establish marine preserves (a measly 160,000 km2) to keep cell phone companies from mining rare Earth metals in those areas.

Fathoms utilizes AI as a genealogical trajectory for yet to be discovered marine species beyond the unexplored depths of the ocean. The fantasy of limitless extraction is given form through emancipatory technology.  An AI is trained to generate speculative shapes of emergent animals by extrapolating from the newly discovered species in the Deep CCZ to mine for the next evolutionary strata of marine life at fictional depths. By using the newly discovered species genealogical attributes as training data; a new fictional ecosystem is generated that would exist beyond the surface of the ocean floor (into the Earth’s crust). This new depth we name following the scientific convention of Greek names; and so beyond Hades is the Tartarapelagic Zone.

Epipelagic Zone 0-200 meters
Mesopelagic Zone 200-1000 meters
Bathypelagic Zone 1000-4000 meters
Abyssopelagic Zone 4000-6000 meters
Hadalpelagic Zone 6000-10,994 meters
Tartarapepelagic Zone: 10,994-15,900 meters

There are two ontological jokes. The first is a philosophical one: that emergent animals appear only through emergent technology. It is only through the recent development of submersible drone technology that we can explore these depths of the ocean floor. The second joke, a more painful and pessimistic one, is that beyond the horizon of the dynamic imminent unfolding of emergent technology/emergent animals/emergent aesthetics, mining companies have already dominated that beyond.

Copyright © 2024 Daniel R. Small. All rights reserved.