New Exhibition Aims To Make Explaining Pollution To Kids Simple(r)
STORY: Fitri Mahad
01 December 2019
Ocean pollution is not something new. Because of that grave environmental issue, we've become familiar (unfortunately) with terms like "pollution", "plastic straws" and "saving the turtles".
Good luck explaining all that to your children - though they would probably only understand the last one.
But fret not. S.E.A Aquarium’s latest exhibition, Glowing Ocean, helps lift most of that burden off of your shoulders. You still have some explaining to do though.
Swimming in 1 December, it features four installations that highlight the visual changes we may (or may not) see in the ocean due to the effects of climate change and ocean pollution.
The Hidden Truth
Your journey starts off with a mural that contains hidden messages. Hint: You can find them using a UV torchlight.
This installation was made by two artists, Kylie and Liz, from the group, Band of Doodlers. You don't need a hint to guess what these guys do.
When Corals Fade
You and your children have probably noticed bleaching corals and thought nothing of it. Some might even think it’s pretty. In reality, the bleaching is caused by rising sea temperatures.
How is an interaction going to explain this? Simple, with one big button that changes the corals from the colour of skittles to vanilla.
This installation also highlights the importance of corals not just to marine life, but to human communities as well.
This life-sized kelp forest made out of bubble wrap is accompanied by an arching mirror and a soundtrack that changes once you step in. Give it a look – and listen – as it illuminates at regular intervals.
The reflection is also intended to give a more immersive feel; try not to get lost. It’s also right next to actual kelp just in case your kids might mistake it for actual kelp.
Beautiful Warning Signals
Plankton (no, this isn’t a Spongebob episode) and algae are much more dangerous once they start blooming.
This visually stimulating installation shines a light on a pretty grim reality: As these plankton and algae produce high amounts of ammonia, the oxygen levels decrease.
The changing lights alternate between red, green and blue and is accompanied by a screen that explains the process - provided your children aren't distracted by the lights in the first place.
Having trouble? Here’s a formula:
More plankton and algae = bad.
Maybe Mr Krabs should hide that Krabby Patty formula on land instead.
As pretty as these exhibits are, they also help set our sights on the misconception most children (and even adults) have:
What may look pretty in the ocean is actually harmful (just like my ex).
As Band of Doodlers artist Kylie puts it, "There are things that you don’t see with your naked eye, but that doesn’t mean there are no consequences of your actions.”
The Glowing Oceans exhibition is on until 1 January 2020.