Floating above the southern bank of the Seine is la baleine bleue (the blue whale), a vision artist and photographer Pierre Douay has been working on for over 7 years. La baleine bleue is a life-size sculpture of the largest whale ever recorded which leaves viewers in dwarfed awe as they move underneath its huge belly and tail. This mighty beast draws you into the unique and diverse environment of our oceans and reminds us how complicated and important this eco-system is for the health of our planet.
We caught Pierre in the whale information hub and he told us that for him la baleine bleue is a totem or symbol of our interconnectedness to the natural world. For me, Pierre has succeed where Olafur Eliasson failed by encouraging us to reconnect with an animal that has been close to our hearts since childhood through the stories we read and images we discovered. Through our own memories we relate to this majestic creature and the many, many weird and wonderful species that make up our delicate and endangered eco-system.
Across the Seine on the north bank the Tara is moored. Stepping aboard this famous ocean exploring vessel Tina and I felt the chills and excitement of discovering the Arctic Circle all over again. Tara and Fram (the boat that our film is named after) are the only two vessels in history to intentionally land themselves in a shelf of Arctic sea ice and let the current carry them across the pole. She's a beautiful, tough little boat who has had a lifetime of adventure, tradegy and discovery. After the tragic death of her former owner Peter Blake who was shot and killed by pirates while monitoring environment change on the Amazon River in 2001 she was sold and started on a new expedition. Funded by French fashion designer Agnès Troublé she traveled around the world studying the CO2 captured by marine microorganisms. Her current crew are a jolly bunch of enthusiastic, knowledgeable and, in my opinion, incredibly brave people who could not be happier to share her stories with us and discover our connection to her sister ship.
Special thanks to Vikki Chapman who joined our Parisian expedition today and took some fantastic shots of Switching Heads exploring the Seine which we will upload soon.
SH at La baleine bleue by Pierre Douay on the Seine's south bank. Pierre watches Fram under his whale. SH aboard the Tara ocean explorer with her crew on the north bank of the Seine. Naziha Mestaoui's One Heart One Tree lights up the Eiffel Tower.
Holly Owen & Kristina Pulejkova