Reviving Jacques Cousteau’s utopian dream of living underwater, Isola and Norzi’s, Liquid Door aka Ballad of the Flooded Museum is an ongoing deep sea exploration that begins as a series of ephemeral and performative aquatic investigations into the exhibits at the New York Aquarium at Coney Island, and ultimately end at Cousteau’s original underwater structure off the coast of Sudan. Inspired by the ephemeral threshold of the liquid door– a surface between air and water created only by the pressure of the air inside an underwater living space –the resulting project features a series of works that examine the aesthetic, social, and domestic interface between man and sea. Hilario Isola and Matteo Norzi’s work explores architecture as a site for minimal, poetic gestures that reveal the threshold between fiction and possibility. These interventions take shape as sculptures and installations that shift both perception and expectation. Inspired by the idea of a flooded museum as new site for such intervention, the artists’ recent work has taken them across the Suez Canal and diving to the underwater ruins of Jacques Cousteau’s Starfish House in the Red Sea. As an integral part of this ongoing research the artist’s collaboration with the New York Aquarium reveals new possibilities for underwater exploration. Combining references to Italian Mannerism, minimalist forms, and Cousteau’s architectural plans for an underwater aquarium, the artist’s works reckon with the possibility of deep sea domestic life and the prospect of failure inherent the proposal for living underwater. Liquid Door repurposes the mise-en-scène of this other-worldly, deep sea experience, to create a formal exploration of the familiar structures of the aquarium as the threshold of perception and imagination.
Link to the video