Charmoné Botha, The Age of the Jellyfish 1 (2017). Video still.
A large jellyfish sculpture, tentacles extended across my ‘ocean floor’ is accompanied by smaller, suspended jellyfish sculptures. The crowded installation intentionally creates a sense of suffocation, whereby the viewer has to both navigate the tentacles and the hanging jellyfish. The suspended jellyfish are attached to the large jellyfish’s tentacles with fish hooks. Using GoPro, an underwater camera, I warped my underwater footage, merging it with mournful whale sounds since they ingest jellyfish. Inspired by a Sky News documentary featuring a dead whale’s abdomen filled with plastic bags, it suggests that whales mistake the bags for jellyfish. My performances are projected on to a background of ordinary plastic shopping bags. Aligned with ocean conservation, my jellyfish are made from materials recovered from walks on the beach: a damning indictment of human responsibility. Jellyfish contain fluorescent proteins that glow underwater. Similarly, my sculptures neon coated sculptures fluoresce under ultraviolet lighting. The encrusted, tactile silicone sculptures engender a sense of repulsion when touched.