sub_scapeBALTIC was created for ISEA2004, and exhibited in August 2004 on the Helsinki-Tallin passenger ship. For sub_scapeBALTIC, the artists took data sets from the Baltic Sea (bathymetry transects of the ship’s course, pollutants found in grey seals and fish, historical and contemporary fish finds, etc) and transcoded and mapped them in real time onto audio and video data modules of Australian desert, both pristine and polluted.

sub_scapeBALTIC plays with the reflexive synthesis of seemingly alternative spaces – the northern sea and the southern desert. Yet the sea and desert are isomorphs, having metaphysical, aesthetic and political connections between them. The western imagination represents the sea and the desert as “non-place” and negative space.

Mapped as they are with lines of force and communication, trade and theft, disease and DNA, development and exploitation, the sea and the desert are highly political spaces. Both the sea and desert are “deep space” (a combinative trope of physical place and social connectedness) onto which we project our deepest, most troubling collective histories and desires. Environmentally, the desert was once a seabed; both places have similar geomorphologies. sub_scapeBALTIC explores and exploits these philosophical connections in an aesthetic, playful and active installation.





system overview






sub_scapeBALTIC is created in MaxMSP and Auvi. It is housed in a periscope-like installation. Visitors turn the unit to select the bathymetric datasets and data mapping.
Periscope dimensions: Approximately 140 cm H and 55 cm Diameter, weight 26 kg.
Materials: Aluminium, moulded resin, rubber handles. VC to midi box, midi box, LCD screen included.
Hardware: Mac CPU running OSX, min 1ghz processor, min 512 meg ram. Stereo headphones.


Sarah Waterson and Kate Richards
Concept: Sarah Waterson
Collaboration: Sarah Waterson and Kate Richards
Programmer: Jon Drummond
Fabrication: Lenny Bastiaans
Project support: The University of Western Sydney

baltic image ____image of periscope

sub_scape v1.0 Installation images
Location: Sea Princess Passenger
Cruise Ship somewhere in the
Baltic Sea, August 2004