Living Data

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned
that this program contains images and voices of deceased persons.

Living Data

Forests of the sea

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Forests of the sea 2012
Animation & sound: Malou Zuidema
Scientific data: Jorge Ramos and Felipe Briceno
Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS)
University of Tasmania (UTAS)
Executive Production & Direction:
Lynchpin Collaborative Arts/Science Scholarship Program
Mentors: Sue Anderson,Lisa Roberts


As artist, my aim was to give a sense of being present within the changing environment.

The East Australian Current has moved 350 miles further south over the past fifty years with the result that Tasmanian East coast waters are warming at the rate of three to four times the global average. Warm nutrient poor waters alter the fragile marine ecosystem and as a consequence the Giant Kelp Forests of the East Coast of Tasmania are rapidly disappearing, endangering the habitat of many local species including the Southern Rock Lobster. These warmer waters bring with them invasive species, further threatening local species.

Resulting change to the marine ecosystem has also impacted the local fishing industry and its traditions. The Southern Rock Lobster has been an iconic and lucrative species supporting Tasmanian Southern Rock Lobster fisheries for generations: presently losses in the region of $1.4 million annually are being experienced as a result of the noted changes. In the animation we wanted to promote cooperation between science and the fishing industry to make real what is taking place and point to collaborative planning for the future.

Throughout the process we asked ourselves the question "who is the science for?". Science is a highly complex and fact based profession, often hard to understand for those who do not work in the field. Using the art of stop-motion animation here allowed the opportunity to explore an alternative way to communicate and make science accessible, trying to touch the emotions and imagination of the public and bring them into the story of change. Projects like this give the opportunity to explore different narratives and connect different science components into one story. As artist, my aim was to give a sense of being present within the changing environment.

Malou Zuidema,Illustrator, 2013


Story telling is an ancient art, but what is the role of story telling in our present time? Science holds stories of great significance that are often locked in a world of its own particular language. The Lynchpin programexplores ways to introduce ocean science to the community through the arts. It works in solidarity with reputable science, engages public attention in quirky new ways, and creates narratives that draw people in and prompt them to explore further. The Forests of the Sea stop-motion animation is a Lynchpin Scholarship collaboration between Marine Science PhD Candidates Jorge Ramos (Mexico) and Felipe Briceno (Chile) with Dutch artist Malou Zuidema. The program is based at UTAS/IMAS, Tasmania. The animation aims to give an overview of a local science story: a visual narrative with simple and short word cues to aide the story-line.

Sue Anderson,Lynchpin co-ordinator, 2012

Read more about this and other Lynchpin Scholarshipoutcomes.