I want to talk to seymour too (about Ocean), 2016
Black Wave n°1, inkjet


Are you a spiritual person?
Yes, in a sense, I am. I have a mystical approach to the ocean. I consider it a sacred place. In general I’m more interested in the immaterial aspects of life. I feel more attracted by what I define as a kind of ephemeral burden in the human being. I care about how we relate the to small segments of time, which we call our personal life.

Obviously, your work is largely inspired by the ocean. What does the ocean signify to you?
My best experiences in life have been with the ocean, it's even more beautiful than art or music, which I really love. For me the ocean is a strong living entity, which is unknown, ancestral and magnetic. It gives opportunities to all creatures and allows me to find and acknowledge problems.

Most of my works are rooted and conceived through my experiences with the ocean. I gain new inspirations through physical and visual experiences with it, like long open water swimming sessions, snorkeling, free diving or just spending time near the sea. The ocean is my 'second state', 
and the underwater environment teaches me my non-terrestrial side, also in a symbolic way.

The physical experience of plunging into the sea involves all our senses, which get stimulated through the moving liquid. The ocean demands different physical rules, detached from the terrestrial ones, which disconnect us from time and even change our visual perception.

When you are immersed and conditioned by all of these factors and with your awareness activated it can shape you in a radically different way every time.


I want to talk to seymour too (about Ocean), 2016
Black Wave n°3, inkjet


You collect plastic and trash from the oceans and nature for your art works. Do you see it as a way of recycling?
It is a hybrid, somewhere between recycling, collecting and fetishism. I think it’s quiet self-evident for me to deal with trash these days. Garbage might mark objectively the significant difference between animal and humans. I have been interested in the issue of trash for a long time, even in symbolic terms (Broken 2009 or Answer Without Question 2011).

As I started to enjoy the ocean more and more while I was creating Breath Keepers, 2011, I started to be an active sweeper and I developed a passion for collecting. Those objects, which are modelled and transformed by the sea, have become amulets for me.  Quiet a few have become subjects of my latest photographic work -  I Want To Talk To Seymour Too, 2016. (Tin1, Plastic Bottle, Black Plastic and Ocean Waves, Plastic Waves)

Would it be an option for you to create art with new resources?
I don’t put any limits on my work. However I'm more of a vintage person. I'm reluctant to use new resources, but at the same time I’m very aware of new resources which involve re-use.


I want to talk to seymour too (about Ocean), 2016
Blue Wave n°2, inkjet


When did you first pay attention to the problem of plastic pollution in the oceans?
For me it was a natural process and consequence resulting from my bond with the sea combined with the spatial and visual thinking as an artist. It made me question the plastic crises and eager to study and learn more about it.

It has always been a question of ethics and aesthetics. Why does mankind pollute such a rare place like the ocean? And how can we fix it?

Have you always been a conscious person?
Yes, with regard to the ocean I always have been a conscious person, like I have been with my students and the people I care about. Whereas for art, intuition or instinct it's different. It's a very complex area.

However some of your art works, like Grottesche, don’t evolve around the subject of water. Grottesche are close-ups of ancient cave paintings. How is this connected to your critical and conscious mind?
Grottesche are ancient wall paintings with a very precise timing and visual structure for me, repetitive but still changing, like waves. The timing of the repetitions in this case, Grottesche 2016, is absorbed by a PVC passe-partout made by me from black PVC. Our existence, life on earth, is shaped and made possible by plastic and oil. Even the diffusion of 35mm is because of this invention. It’s a work about our way of seeing, whether physical or mental.

You’re involved in environment projects and you also give workshops on different water environments. What do you aim for by giving workshops?
No matter what I’m doing, art projects, workshops on contemporary photography or teaching freediving, my approach is the same. It want to instill awareness of the ocean in the people. I hope, that through developing more attention to the ocean it will bring personal benefit to ourselves and consequently would motivate us to protect our oceans. We need a new ideology.


I want to talk to seymour too, 2016
Black Cap, inkjet


I want to talk to seymour too, 2016
Tin n°2, inkjet


What do you consider the most important step for saving the ocean?
By developing culture and feeling for the ocean. By recognizing our privilege. We know very well that, as far we know, our ocean is unique.  For me, it means we are not special because we are human, but because we “have” the ocean. The ocean has animated us, it’s our soul.

By acting in a concrete way, we can’t wait for industries or companies to solve this problem nor try to find a new planet to damage.  We need to act, individually and together.

What’s your biggest personal future mission?
I’m afraid, since I have more than one. It's all in the process, like waves.


Artist Francesca Rivetti
Interview & Words Caro Gettler