sub(Merge) is a public-art proposal commissioned by NTC Foundation, for Installations at the Station, an outdoor festival of semi-permanent public-art at Arts District Liberty Station in San Diego, California.
sub(Merge) takes participants on an immersive journey, deep into a watery world of sound and vision. Exquisitely crafted light art brings walls and ceiling alive with undulating motion and saturated color forms.
Like an impressionist painting, the installation’s lights and sound emulate the underwater world of Scripps Submarine Canyon, located just off Liberty Station’s Pacific coast where Navy submarines share space with migratory whales. sub(Merge) honors Frank Watlington, the Navy acoustics engineer whose audio recordings of humpback whales inspired a global moratorium on whale hunting, rescuing the species from the brink of extinction.
Hovering near the installation’s center, microphones blink with accent lighting. As people speak near or into the mics, traces of their own voices merge with synthesized whale song mingled with an ambient soundscape. Melodic waves merge with synthesized undertones, as sonar gently pings into awareness.
Included in the mix are Mr. Watlington’s original whale song recordings, along with archival sound recordings from the site’s former Naval Training Center.
Proposal commissioned by: NTC Foundation
Date: Spring 2020