Portrait of a Kelp Forest
A collaborative project with marine biologists, coastal communities and a kelp.
Elena Alonso Fernández

Opening: 4 November 2022
Duration : 4 to 27 November 2022

gr_und, seestr. 49 – 13347 Berlin-Wedding

Portrait of a Kelp Forest is a participatory, artistic research project that was carried out in Galicia (north-west Spain). With this project, the artist Elena Alonso Fernández portrays an essential element of this coast: kelp forests, one of the most productive ecosystems in the world. Following her idea of a portrait based on participation, Alonso Fernández worked with the people who know these algae best: the marine biologists engaged with their conservation and the coastal communities who have been in direct contact with them for decades. Alonso Fernández immersed herself in this ecosystem, dived with biologists and algae collectors, sailed with fishermen and interviewed several marine experts, documenting all these experiences and personal narratives with video. This research indirectly flowed into her paintings, testimonies of the algae that now come to the surface in vibrant colors and become protagonists. But more than objects of observation, the kelp plays an active role in its own portrait. With the help of an underwater sensor, Alonso Fernández recorded the movements of the seaweed for two months. Using her paintings as a starting point, she employed creative coding to generate animations determined directly by the movements of the kelp, which can now be experienced in augmented reality (AR) on any mobile device in front of the paintings.

A publication about the project will be released as part of the exhibition.