These last breaths
chromogenic prints, frames treated with Persian Gulf seawater
diptych 30 x 40cm ea.
In 1954 companies that would later become BP and Total commissioned a young Jacques Cousteau to undertake an oceanographic survey of the Persian Gulf. As Cousteau's career progressed, he became a vocal conservationist. However, as a factor in the discovery of oil, the survey of 1954 was instrumental in irreversible changes in both the region and the world. Throughout 2018 and 2019, Whelan travelled to a series of coordinates from Cousteau's survey. With a dive team he conducted his own visual surveys of the sea bed. During these dives, images were made of the air expelled from a diver's lungs, taken only seconds apart. After these ephemeral moments were captured on camera, a water sample was taken from the same location. The raw wood of the two frames was treated with this historically charged water, bleaching the wood and leaving traces of salt.