Fieldwork: Reverberating Futures by Fiona Hillary explores human and non-human entanglements of wonder. From Hillary’s situated location – an island in the middle of the Pacific, Southern and Indian oceans, this work engages with narratives of the ocean.

The southern hemisphere is currently experiencing unprecedented occurrences of algal drift across the ocean, appearing as red tides during the day, locally occurring bioluminescent dinoflagellates, Noctiluca Scintillans glow blue in the evenings’ crashing waves.  They are nomadic and non-motile – they rely on the wind and the tide to move. Their glow works on a circadian rhythm, a 24-hour internal clock. They have a flagellum that extends from their cell scooping phytoplankton, nutrients and other algae from the water as food. They use carbon and emit oxygen and are often useful as a bioassay tool to detect pollutants in water, particularly an excess of nitrogen the effluent of urbanisation and industry.

This work brings together fieldwork recordings in Australia and the US. The sound draws from recordings at the Western Treatment Plant in Werribee and from Port Philip Bay in Victoria, Australia, and speculates on the sound of dinoflagellates. The imagery is documentation developed across time with laboratory grown dinoflagellate cultures, Noctiluca Scintillans and Pyrocystis Lunula. 

Special thanks to Michael Latz from Latz Laboratory at Scripps Institute of Oceanography in California; Gustaaf Hallegraeff from the University of Tasmania and Aidyn Mouradov from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia for their generosity and contribution to my knowledge.

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