When most people look out onto the ocean, all they see is its surface. However, the ocean has an average depth of 4,200 meters and the physical, chemical and biological processes that occur in the deep ocean (bellow 200 m) are critical for life on Earth.

The aim of the Deep Listening Deep Sea(ing) (DLDS) project is to create artistic experiences that contribute to raise awareness of the importance of the deep ocean. The project will invite teenagers to create “audiovisual postcards” and “soundtracks” to images / films of the deep ocean provided by the University of Bergen and the Task Group for the Extension of the Continental Shelf. “Imagining” the soundscapes of a barely known universe is a fascinating challenge and the results will be publicly presented in final presentations that will also include scientific talks.

The Pianoscope (PNSCP) is the “sound factory” that we will use to create original sound resources in artistic residencies and workshops at the International Academy for Music Arts and Sciences in Marvão (AIMAC, where the PNSCP is now on display), involving CMT artists, teenagers and the general public, which will allow the creation of a “sound vocabulary” that will be made available in an open “library”. This sound material will later be used at the Fábrica Centro Ciência Viva Aveiro in workshops aimed at teenagers with the purpose of creating “sound postcards” and/or sound videos of the deep ocean.

Several CMT projects address the need to “tune” people with the fragile world we live in: Deep Sea Mission (2015); NOAH (2017); Murmuratorium (2019) or Thousand Birds (2020, part of Lisbon European Green Capital 2020) are examples of what we have called “tuning people, birds and flowers”.

Few people know what the deep ocean is or are aware of its importance for our survival on the Planet. Advances in ocean submersibles, imaging and sampling technologies are revealing new ecosystems such as cold-water coral reefs and vibrant communities based around chemicals seeping from the Earth’s crust, as well as a whole range of alien-looking organisms. Incredible biological discoveries have been made in the last 40 years, but they have yet to make it into textbooks. And they are all threatened by the same damages that we have caused to coastal waters (overfishing, oil spills, plastic accumulation, chemical and noise pollution) to which we can add those resulting from the race for the resources that the ocean floor contains.

Deep Listening Deep Sea(ing) comes as our response to a challenge to increase ocean literacy. We want to draw attention to the deep ocean, as it is wider, less known and of extreme importance for life on earth. The project is funded by EEA Grants*, under the Blue Growth Programme, operated by Directorate-General for Maritime Policy, and involves the collaboration of Companhia de Música Teatral with the International Academy for Music Arts and Sciences in Marvão, Fábrica Centro de Ciência Viva de Aveiro, the University of Bergen, the University of Aveiro and has the support of the Task Group for the Extension of the Continental Shelf.

* Through the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are partners, in the internal market, of the Member States of the European Union.
As a way of promoting a continuous and balanced strengthening of the economic and trade relations, the parties of the European Economic Area Agreement have established a Multiannual Financial Mechanism, known as the EEA Grants, through which Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway provide financial support to Member States of the European Union with the greatest deviations from the European average GDP per capita, which includes Portugal.
The EEA Grants aim to reduce the economic and social disparities in the European Economic Area and to strengthen the bilateral relations between beneficiary and donor countries.


Photo attribution:
1. Courtesy of the University of Bergen (UiB, Norway) and H2020 SponGES project.
2. Courtesy of EMEPC/ROV Luso.
3. Imaginary landscapes (Mafalda Maia)