News of the World Project is a brief which asked us to find a news article and create an end publication in response to the story that we choose. My inspiration came from a documentary film called Blackfish , explaining the animal cruelty of Orca whales in Sea World parks. The film followed the journey of Tilikum who has violently killed three trainers whilst being in captivity and being forced to live in such awful conditions. These deaths have been covered up by Sea world , a company which prides themselves on their caring conservation projects. It is clear that Tilikum has been physiologically damaged as a result of living in confined spaces, violence from other whales, being torn apart from his family, and also being starved if the behaviors were not up to necessary standards. I felt it was important to use this issue as a basis for my project as I myself feel as if I have been lead to believe a lie. I have been to the Sea World parks and have actually had my photograph taken next to Tilikum the whale. I had no idea at the time about the immoral conditions as the trainers are told to bend the truth of the situation so as to convince the public that living like this is healthy for the whales. More shockingly I watched the same ‘Believe’ show in which Dawn Brancheau was tragically killed later that year. This film seemed to struck a nerve inside of me allowing me to place myself in the shoes of the trainers and the Orca itself and I feel as if it is my place to do this story justice and create something which best represents my discovery.
Above is the trailer for Blackfish, the full film is available on Netflix , sky download and also in parts on youtube.
Firstly I began to collect secondary research images which allowed me to realise that these images, whilst shocking to a certain extent, do not resonate in peoples minds. To force people to confront this issue we need to bring it back to home, to something which we can comprehend. Therefore I experimented with transferring the same violence to a human model, where the viewer can better translate the issues.
The first experiment is a self portrait achieved by photocopying my face. This gives the impression that I am restricted and trapped in a confined space. The image is striking as it appears as if i am in pain, but also hopelessly struggling. We would never ignore another human captured, therefore why should the feelings be different if it is an Orca? I also extended this experiment by putting these photocopies into a glass jar.
The second and third images are illustrations that I created in response to the violence that the whales experience in captivity. Young Orcas are taken from their families and placed in the habitat together expected to create new family bonds. However Sea World know full well that Orcas speak different languages according to the family that they left behind. Therefore the Orcas cannot understand one an other and as a result get frustrated and start raking and attacking. The whales have been seen during a show, bleeding in the pool and lashing out at each other, which sea world cover up as them accidentally rough playing. Therefore I wanted to create the equivalent violence on a human as we take issues such as domestic violence so seriously- again, why is the importance different just because it is another species in question.