Sea-Fever blog

Moby-Monday: “In the Unequal Cross-Lights” — Contemporary Sculptors Respond to the Whaling Museum Collections by Peter A. Mello

Giant Squid sculpture by Erik Durant

Last month I took the kids to New Bedford Open Studios and one of the highlights was meeting sculptor Erik Durant and seeing his giant squid which was under construction for the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s outdoor sculpture show which opened last week. Durant’s studio is always a real hit with the kids if for no other reason than his giant ear sculpture with companion Q-tip;  Joy especially loves it.

The sculpture show is titled “”In the Unequal Cross-Lights” — Contemporary Sculptors Respond to the Whaling Museum Collections” and the title is derived from Moby-Dick. From David Boyce’s article in the New Bedford Standard Times:

The project’s title is taken from “Moby-Dick,” referring to Ishmael’s visit to the Spouter-Inn, where in the “unequal cross-lights” he sees a painting on the wall that confounds him. Melville writes that this artwork requires “careful inquiry,” “earnest contemplation,” and “repeated ponderings.” In other words, much like looking at some contemporary art work, one must allow it time to divulge its intentions, its message, its meaning, or merely its composition.

Photo from

Moby-Monday: “It is not down in any map; true places never are.” by Peter A. Mello

Jeremy Wood is a multidiscipline artist and map maker whose diverse work offers people and places a playground of space and time. In October 2000 he began to explore GPS satellite technology as a tool for digital mark making on water, over land, and in the air. He makes drawings and maps of his movements by recording all his daily journeys with GPS to create a personal cartography. (from the artist’s website)

One of Wood’s projects included a walk though London along the quote: “It is not down in any map; true places never are.” Herman Melville, Moby Dick.

Jeremy Wood drawing

Also from the artist’s website.

The text was written over a period of three months from January 2005. The length of the line recorded on foot for the drawing was 44.2 miles, and the total distance traveled to make the drawing was 458.6 miles. I had two bicycle punctures with reinforced puncture resistant tires, the first of which happened 20 miles into a journey looking for locations that ended in having to push the bike home for 9 miles. After closing the body of the last letter, I headed as far north as the land allowed to a small pier on which the Greenwich Meridian is marked, and finished the drawing by circling around on the footpath at the edge of the River Thames for a full stop.

Via PowerMobyDick where you can find lots of other interesting Moby-Dick digital ephemera.

Toy boat, toy boat, toy boat! by Peter A. Mello
May 2, 2010, 9:12 pm
Filed under: maritime, maritime art, maritime heritage | Tags: ,

Bet you couldn’t say that fast three times.  No worries because even though many, many more than 3 just went on view at the always amazing National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England, the special exhibition, which has been has been developed in collaboration with the Musée National de la Marine, Paris, is simply titled Toy Boats!

From the website:

Between 1850 and 1950 the development of ships underwent a massive change as steel and steam replaced wood and sail. This ignited the imaginations of children and toy makers and was met by an equivalent ‘Golden Age’ in the development of toy boats.

Borrowing extensively from the collection of the Musée national de la Marine in Paris and some of Britain’s foremost collectors, ‘Toy Boats’ showcases over 100 colourful and imaginative toys which recall the grand liners, submarines and battleships that defined and defended the nation.

By the way, here’s why you can’t say “toy boat” three time fast.

Oceansize | Every Mariner’s Nightmare (video) by Peter A. Mello
April 4, 2010, 8:55 pm
Filed under: life, maritime, maritime art | Tags: ,

First things first. This is why I love the Internet.

One of my professional mariner Twitter friends posts an update that he’s meeting one of his Twitter friend to do something. Being nosy, I follow the link and ultimately end up here and get sucked in by the short film which I think is a dream or nightmare that anyone who has ever gone to sea has had.

Oceansize has a cool website with lots of good info; if you enjoyed the film, check it out.

This is why I love the Internet.

Flag dip to @muffuletta and @brundlefly

Jason deCaires Taylor and the Cancun and Isla Mujeres Underwater Museum by Peter A. Mello
March 14, 2010, 8:17 pm
Filed under: maritime art | Tags: , , ,

I’ve written about Jason deCaires Taylor’s beautiful underwater sculpture before. The artist recently started an installation for the Cancun and Isla Mujeres Underwater Museum. Here’s a short video of the first stage.

I’d love to hear if any Sea-Fever readers have ever experienced Jason deCaires Taylor’s work up close and underwater.

Plastic Beach by Gorillaz by Peter A. Mello
March 13, 2010, 12:38 pm
Filed under: maritime art | Tags: ,

Here’s a cool video: the orchestral trailer for the Gorillaz new album Plastic Beach.

The Gorillaz website is also definitely worth a visit but please be safe and don’t get lost in there!

69° South: The Shackleton Project by Peter A. Mello

This looks and sounds interesting.

The Shackleton Project is a series of dynamic tableau vivants inspired by Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Co-conceived by The Phantom Limb Company and The Kronos Quartet, this narrative installation-in-motion melds theatrical performance, puppetry, photography, and film with original contemporary music and an unconventional acoustic palette to create a stunning—and unprecedented—artistic and emotional journey.

69° South: The Shackleton Project


Saturday, March 13, 2010, 8:00 pm

FotoFriday: Tall Ship Concordia’s Bell by Voytec by Peter A. Mello

Concordia Bell by Wojtek (Voytec) Wacowski

Shiver me timbers! Not All Tallships people like sea shanties! by Peter A. Mello
November 29, 2009, 8:33 pm
Filed under: maritime art, maritime heritage | Tags: , ,

That’s according to a short sea story told by Bowsprite, one of the most amazing ports of call on the Internet. Please do yourself a favor and check out this maritime treasure.

drawing by Bowsprite

Moby Monday — The Greatest of E’s by MegDC
November 9, 2009, 9:30 am
Filed under: maritime, maritime art, Moby-Monday | Tags: , , ,

"Moby-Dick, Chapter 35, or, 1,294 Times E," by Justin Quinn
For the past two years, Minnesota artist Justin Quinn has been transcribing and transforming passages from Moby-Dick into intense, swirly drawings, prints, and collages. One catch for would-be readers: he changes every letter he copies into the letter “E.”

The point, Quinn says in a statement, is to explore “the space between reading and seeing”—to create with his E’s a “vacant language” parallel to the language of the source. He chose Moby-Dick as his text because its “story rich in theology, philosophy, and psychosis provides me with a roadmap for my work, but also with a series of underlying narratives.”

When I contacted Quinn, he had been thinking a lot about Chapter 35: “The Mast-Head,” which discusses the long, lonely hours that whalemen would spend keeping watch for whales’ spouts. Quinn compared his own labors to these. “Lost in my own thoughts (much like the whale-fishers) I am accumulating time in the studio, and the characters can read as a tally of my time,” he wrote in an email.

Quinn’s latest Moby-Dick works will be on exhibit from November 19 through December 23 at the Cain Schulte Gallery in San Francisco, with an artist talk at 7 p.m. on the opening night.

Margaret Guroff is editor and publisher of Power Moby-Dick.


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