Deep Blue Notes in Silver Bank
March 11, 2013 – March 22, 2012
Dominican Republic

Photo: Jana Winderen.

The Silver Bank expedition facilitated work on a series of TBA21–Academy projects, mainly focusing on gathering field recordings for a major audio installation by the British sound artist Chris Watson entitled Deep Blue Notes. When completed this project will, for the first time, enable audiences to experience sounds from the marine environment at their true scale – in their intricate substance, detail, power and range, but above all in their three-dimensionality.

Surrounding its listeners, Deep Blue Notes will project sounds from all directions, recreating three-dimensional soundfields from the marine environment. This will enable an acoustic experience that cannot otherwise be heard, experienced or understood firsthand. Utilizing technologies capable of capturing underwater sound in three dimensions and reproducing them in air, listeners will be able to correctly discern the spatial attributes of complex and multifaceted undersea soundscapes.
For this project, collaborations between Chris Watson, researchers who employ and develop high quality audio recording techniques for Ambisonic Surround Sound, researchers in marine biology and conservationists were established. All were brought together to collaborate and gather field recordings. The resulting work, which will also generate new scientific insight, will promote an understanding of the marine spatial environment and constitute a scientifically and politically informed proposition that will engage experiences, information and issues relating to global environmental concerns.

During this expedition the artist Jana Winderen also continued recording the sounds of the coral reefs for her project Silencing of the Reefs. In addition, the expedition facilitated an assessment of reef health in the Silver Bank area. Local collaborators from Reef Check Dominican Republic conducted the survey. The scientists assessed the health of the reef at the Silver Bank using the Reef Check protocol ( Similar surveys have been conducted in the Dominican Republic since 2004 in most of the coral reef areas of the country, as well as in more than ninety-five countries and territories worldwide. Reef Check is the largest coral reef health-monitoring organisation in the world.

All Academy activity on board of M/Y Dardanella was documented by a professional journalist and by the film director Robert Dornhelm.