The exhibition "Océan, une plongée insolite" (an alternative dive into the ocean) showing at the National Museum of Natural History (MNHN) in Paris offers visitors the chance to dive into the depths of the ocean’s unknown. Through its immersive design and interactive devices, the exhibition brings to light the challenges we face to protect these unique ecosystems now under threat. Bruno David, President of the MNHN, looks at the major challenges facing marine exploration and protection of our oceans.
What messages did you want the exhibition to get across?
The idea is to show the unknown, or little known, faces of the ocean and highlight that ocean life cannot be summed up in a few marine mammals or fish. Our aim is to help the general public understand marine biodiversity while showing an extraordinary, or alternative, vision of its life. I am talking about this exhibition as “a vaccine against indifference”. Through the beauty of the living organisms displayed, such as planktonic species living in extreme environments, we aim to help visitors understand the issues affecting, and threatening, the ocean. We didn’t want to create an exhibition that would cause anxiety; instead we wanted its central themes to be beauty and the mysterious. The visitor is invited to take a magnificent, interactive and informative dive into the unknown.
Underwater landscape in the Antartic NSF/USAP ©Steve Clabuesch