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Jason de Caires Taylor (b. 1974)
Cement as artificial reef, unknown date

TARBOT: It’s called Vicissitudes
(which, I had to look up)
They’re 4.5 meters underwater

CROE: if i was swimming along and i saw that, i would be pretty creeped out
where is it located?

TARBOT: Grenada, West Indies

CROE: Frederick Douglas has a chapter in his book titled The Vicissitudes of Slave Life
could they be slaves that fell off a boat?

TARBOT: oh my
they do look like they have shackles on their wrists
there’s just two types of “people” though
in the circle
as if they were copy-pasted
the artist must have been like, welp … I don’t got time to do more, so … Ctrl-C

CROE: one effect of that is that there are pairs looking at each other

TARBOT: ooh yeah I hadn’t really caught on to that before
and, it looks like … boy, girl, boy, girl, etc.
apparently the artist made real life casts of children
or … I mean, casts that are real life size… of children
or um… children were cast. very real life like.
… life size casts of actual children.

CROE: :) i knew what you meant

TARBOT: yes, but our readers don’t know me as well as you do… hehe

TARBOT: As the sculptures are colonized by marine life, their human faces erode and become home to a colorful set of new inhabitants. The artist invites this process, allowing the sculptures to “engage with a vision of the possibilities of a sustainable future, portraying human intervention as positive and affirmative.
“What I’m most interested in is the idea of change and process,” he explains. “It’s meant to mirror our lives. In the same way that children are meant to absorb their surroundings as they grow up, these under­water children will also be heavily influenced – they’ll take on the patina of their environment as they grow and change over time.”
that’s cool – the materials he used can become part of the ecosystem

CROE: it would be cool to see what they look like in a few years

TARBOT: but I got bad news: turns out they’re not slaves.

CROE: that’s good news i think!
so what’s on their wrists?
friendship bracelets?

oh you know what?
I think it may be just what’s kinda holding the entire piece together
like a metal ring
cause it looks like it’s actually going into their hips

CROE: great, now we have a zombie army

TARBOT: haha

TARBOT: I wonder why they’re facing outward — if you stand in a circle, typically you face inward no?

CROE: yeah
well, if you don’t feel safe, you might look outwards
or if you were stuck with the same group of people underwater for years
you might get bored
or looking at them
and might turn around

TARBOT: haha

Check out all the photos – including those showing how life has already grown there! – here at the artist’s site.


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