‘We know more about the surface of the moon than we do about the bottom of the ocean.’ This statement is often heard when talking about the deep sea. Worldwide, only ten percent of the ocean floor has been mapped and explored. At a moment in history when the planet we live on seems to have been explored extensively, some places remain unstudied and untouched.
After their acclaimed performances Mining Stories and Pleasant Island, Silke Huysmans and Hannes Dereere present the final part of their trilogy on mining. This time they focus on a completely new industry: deep sea mining. With resources on land becoming increasingly scarce and overexploited, mining companies turn towards the ocean.
In the Spring of 2021, three ships gather on a remote patch of the Pacific Ocean. One of them belongs to the Belgian dredging company Deme-Gsr. Four kilometres below the sea surface, their mining robot is scraping the seabed in search of metals. On another ship, an international team of marine biologists and geologists keep a close watch on the operation. A third ship completes the fleet: on board of the infamous Rainbow Warrior, Greenpeace activists protest against this potential future industry.
From their small apartment in Brussels, Silke and Hannes connect with the three ships through satellite. Each of the ships represents one pillar of the public debate: industry, science and activism. Through a series of interviews and conversations, an intimate portrait of this new industry emerges. The piece is an attempt to capture a potentially pivotal moment in the history of the earth. How much deeper can mining companies dig, and what are we as humankind actually digging towards? What are the challenges and risks? What opportunities potentially lay ahead?
Out of the Blue premiered at the Kunstenfestivaldesarts on May 19, 2022.