Monday, 14 November 2016

MUSEUMS AND THE ENVIRONMENT: MUSEO SUBACUÁTICO DE ARTE



MUSEUM INNOVATIONS

BY: KELLY MACKENZIE


With a changing environment and new emphasis on renewable energy, some wonder where museums fit into this dialogue. After all, they are trusted sources of information, but they walk a fine line between providing information and “telling people what to think” (source). New buildings try to be environmentally friendly or renewable sources of energy are installed (such as the installation of solar panels at The Field Museum, Illinois in 2002 and The Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio in 2013). While these initiatives should be applauded, the Museo Subacuático de Arte (MUSA) took it a step further.


The Field Museum solar panels (source)

In 2009, the museum was formed in the waters around Cancun, Isla Mujeres, and Punta Nizuc and founded by the Director of the National Marine Park Jaime González Cano, past President of the Cancun Nautical Association Roberto Díaz Abraham, and sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor (who was highlighted in Walk of Fame). MUSA now consists of more than 500 life-size sculptures, created by six artists: Jason deCaires Taylor, Salvador Quiroz Ennis, Rodrigo Quiñones Reyes, Karen Salinas Martinez, and Elier Amado Gil. Most of these statues come from Taylor (source).

Location of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (source)

Location of Museo Subacuático de Arte (screenshot from Google Maps)

Museo Subacuático de Arte was born from a desire to protect Mexico’s Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest barrier reef in the world. The museum is by no means the only project underway to protect the reef, but the idea is innovative and intriguing. Combining statues that convey messages about modern culture and a unique tourist experience with a desire to protect the environment by creating a new barrier reef via statues specifically designed to promote coral growth. 


Placing the Volkswagen into its new location. The door has two openings leading to shelves designed for lobsters (source)
A key tenant of a museum is preserving history, whether it is a specific artefact or historical site. MUSA has developed an innovative and compelling way to preserve and ensure the longevity of its site, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. The artwork is beautiful and the coral growths give the pieces a unique feature.



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