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Below the depths of the ocean there are vast quantities of untold riches. From the sea floor hydrothermal vents erupt water, and in the process eject massive amounts of sulfides in the near vicinity. It is in these sulfide deposits we find our precious resources: gold, copper, magnesium, nickel, platinum, silver, zinc, cadmium and cobalt. Scientifically these metals are grouped together on the periodic table and are referred to as Transition Elements. A more monetary reflection and transition suggests an exchange or economy.


As terrestrial deposits are being exhausted the seabed and its resources are becoming more and more commercially alluring. The seafloor and its increased state of exploration can be essentially linked to the desire for these resources. To meet these demands there has been an increased investment in both scientific and technological endeavors to come up with solutions in mapping, sampling and then exploiting the resources that remain under the ocean. Even environmental endeavors are a direct response to increased commercial desire for sea-floor resources. As scientific purists strive for acknowledgment and protection of these hidden habitats before they are decimated through the act of mining. The discoveries being made at the ‘last frontier’ are therefore linked directly to a culture of consumerism.


Transition Elements depicts the actual metals that can be mined from hydrothermal vents. Through microscopic photography this research provides a simulated space of the unseen, subtly connecting seabed exploration with historical, scientific, economic and imaginative agendas.


2018 Local Haze/Celestrial Waves, Clare Logan, Jonathan Kay & Helen Dowling, Weasel Gallery, 20 Sep - 6 Oct, Hamilton

2014 Transition Elements (solo show), 30 Upstairs, 20 Mar – 11 Apr Wellington

Copyright Jonathan Kay
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