« Equinoxes »

© N.Pansiot/Tara Expéditions

Since the stopover in Bizerte (Tunisia), Tara has become feminized. Some even call it jokingly the “pink boat.” It’s true that women are now in the majority — 7 women and 5 men aboard. This crossing from Algiers to Marseille is shared by 2 artists in residence. 

Lola Reboud is one of them. A photographer, she roams the boat at fixed hours with her cameras, working on a project called “Equinoxes”.

Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your project?

I am in residence aboard Tara between Bizerte and Marseille during the month of September, which corresponds to the period of the equinoxes*. Before leaving, I wrote a project with the same name dedicated to the color blue of the Mediterranean Sea. Even though I’m basically a photographer, I’m also making a sea map, and a video.

This blue color is seen in variations of the chromatic and climatic spectrum. Photos are taken in the morning, noon and evening. I then plan to design a map based on the information collected by scientists, that is, the digitized data, because today that’s how cartography is done. I then have to find the most appropriate graphic modeling, in 2D or 3D.

In addition I’m doing a film with views of the sea in its chromatic variations, associated with the portrait of the scientist Marie Barbieux whom I met on board. She’s doing her thesis on ocean color.

You photograph the sea 3 times a day. Can you explain why?

I set up a ritual of taking pictures in the morning, noon and evening. At dawn the blue color evolves into red, and the yellows turn into a contrasty blue. At noon, with the sun at its zenith, everything is sky blue, and in the evening the light verges on red and then turns into night blue. Added to this are more seasonal variations depending on the weather. The entire chromatic spectrum is well represented in my photos.

Finally this range of blue is never the same, and I’ve noticed that my eyesight has become incredibly refined. There are nuances that I was unable to see upon my arrival on Tara. At first I could only make out a mass, and now I visualize more and more details that come to my attention each time I change the setting of my camera. The sea actually appears to me like a very thin survival blanket.

Discussions with scientists and sailors, the sampling they carry out every day – plankton and plastic – make all of us on board realize the density of life and the pollution contained in this water, which at first we don’t perceive.

What is your relationship to science?

I’m like a child! I know nothing and I’m learning every day. This is the 4th project that I’ve put together with scientists. I’ve worked with volcanologists, geographers and now aboard Tara, with oceanographers. This is something I love – exchanging knowledge between two worlds that rarely meet, but both are involved in research.

On board, I discovered that there’s a sensor for measuring ocean color, the HTSRB.* It has an ultra-sensitive sensor and it helped me to refine my first intuition. The sea’s color also depends on the amount of phytoplankton and other particles in the water. So this blue color comes from things you don’t suspect that are barely perceptible. I’m discovering and learning every day on this boat which is the whole point of being on board. If I were in my studio, I’d miss all these exchanges with scientists and of course with the sailors! What interests me is not the color blue in its formal aspect, but the hidden issues of climate that we don’t see.

Visit her website: www.lolareboud.com

Glossary:

- Equinoxes *: at the beginning of spring and fall, the moment when at the celestial equator, day and night are of equal length all around the globe.
- HTSRB: Hyperspectral Tethered Spectral Radiometer Buoy

LINKED STORIES

▸ Lola Reboud
▸ Artists-in-residence during the Tara Mediterranean expedition
▸ Stopover in Marseille