Ben Yau

Project Starfish

Human beings have been fantastic at adapting to change, adapting to climate emergencies and we will continue to do so. Who cares if Miami is 6 metres underwater in 100 years? Amsterdam has been 6 metres underwater for ages, and that’s a really nice place. We will cope with it.

—Stuart Kirk, Head of Responsible Investment at HSBC

Project Starfish is a visual research project investigating the possibility of life underwater as a result of the rising of sea levels. Unearthed as a speculative archive of materials commissioned by a secretive corporation, the assemblage proposes developing commercially viable bio-technologies in order to adapt to the rising of sea levels. The visual research looks towards deep-sea hydrothermal vent bacteria for inspiration in adaptation to the extreme environments of living in the progressively toxic seas. Appropriated and recontextualised visual materials are collected from various sources and assembled as a mode of storytelling. Operating by means of analogy, the project hints at the absurdity of already existing technological ‘solutions’ to climate change, such as genetically modifying food crops to deal with harsher climates or various geo-engineering propositions, demonstrating the disjuncture of market forces in dealing with climate change.

Masters Photography & Society exhibition 24-26 June Bunker at Waterkant Kapelweg 55, 2587 BK The Hague