Science is Fiction (An animal obsession).


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Science is fiction: This part of the title is taken from a book* that examines the work of Jean Painlevé, a director of science documentaries who, amongst his other accomplishments, was the first to film the male sea horse in the act of giving birth.

The publication you are holding is meant to act as a book-cum-album that captures the experience of a project-experiment carried out in the Donostia-San Sebastian Aquarium, and which I’ve been working on for two years. It began with the film of the same name – also included here – built from interviews held with a disparate group of people (children, old people . . .) in two places: Bilbao and New York. They were handed a sea horse and asked to talk about it. In the film these sequences are combined with drawings and animations of sea horses.

Through this animal and the anecdote of its reproductive process, the work took shape as an audiovisual piece, along with drawings, sculptures, fetishes and books. Some of the material was displayed in showcases, in line with the idea of pedagogical organisation that lay behind the old cabinets of wonders. All these artefacts attempt to answer the need of human beings to find meanings and a connection with nature, as well as the permanent necessity to classify our knowledge (…)

Sculptures and objects made of Murano glass, metal, and clay inside the aquariums.


 Watercolor and ink on paper. 19x13cm and 13x14cm

An Invited Animal.

One always sets out from somewhere. Celeste Olalquiaga’s* book The Artificial kindom was one of the departure points from which my work developed, in its addressing of my animal obsession with the hippocampus and with the great wealth of expressive ramifications and connections that this animal awakes in us. With this choral aspect in mind I felt it fitting to ask Celeste for a text, since I understood her work to be a core body within the different dispersal routes that I suggest in this book.



Ocean Matter.

Celeste Olalqueaga

     Water, we’re taught, can be found in three basic forms: liquid, solid and vapor. Flowing in rivers and oceans, crystallized in icebergs and snow, suspended in clouds or falling as rain, water is a versatile element whose polyvalence (a question of temperature) makes it a perfect vessel for transportation and transmutation. Yet water can also materialize in a living organism where the limits between liquid and solid are hazy and ungraspable, producing a slippery, viscuous consistency that is as fascinating to vision as repugnant to touch. This creature, popularly known as a fish made of jelly, or a jellyfish, has become one of the ocean’s most threatening inhabitants, a passive, yet expansive mass whose increasing volume makes of its ethereal beauty a monstrous force to contend with. (…)


Watercolour and collage on blue mylar. 31x23cm

Watercolour and collage on blue mylar. 31x23cm


I don’t want to stop seeing them.

Esteban Torres Ayastuy

When we were grown-up we felt duty bound to sample an underwater dream. Now that all we want is to be young – and we will never again be adults – we travel our way with a moist responsibility. It is the dream of guilelessness. Except it is now tinged by the presence of a vast number of images and of ways of doing of the world above, the dry world. You have to understand that many tons of seawater weigh upon these animals – sea horses – and that simply through courtesy toward them we must force ourselves to admit the weight of youth.

In this last drowned state, lost in ourselves, little by little our inert body journeys downward metre after metre . . . Toward them. And the show is on: only the males reproduce, their tails grip together, they have armour, they are austere in their movement, they express millennial indolence. There is no love between them! They are mechanisms that use one other.

Captain Nemo renounced civilisation and built his armoured machine, the submarine Nautilus, in imitation of the skeleton of a hippocampus.

This book was constructed thinking of these animals.

Mylar Paper.



Exhibition at the San Sebastian`s  Aquarium.


Science is Fiction. Video.


Science is Fiction’s Book.


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