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  • Jaimie Cleeland

Launching Geolocation Journeys

Geolocation Journeys was successfully launched on September 9th to a full house on the Hobart waterfront at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies.

With visualisations of Elephant Seal diving data projected in the background, IMAS seal scientist, and Deputy Head of School, Dr. Mary-Anne Lea gave a warm welcome to all guests, before handing over to seabird ecologist, Jaimie Cleeland and artist, Annalise Rees, from the Tasmanian College of the Arts, to share their story of how this unique collaboration began.

In 2014 Annalise undertook a residency at IMAS, working in the gallery space as part of her PhD research. Annalise explored drawing based systems used for documenting human presence in the unknown maritime environment. Inspired by navigation and cartography her interest specifically lay in the limitations and difficulties of these ways of recording.

Dr. Mary-Anne Lea with PhD Candidates Jaimie Cleeland and Annalise Rees.

For PhD Candidate, Jaimie Cleeland, the questions and challenges of navigation in ocean settings and unknown environments resonated strongly. Using light data from tracking devices called geolocators, Jaimie and other scientists working at IMAS were discovering the foraging locations of albatrosses, seabirds, seals and penguins.


'The connections between the work of marine predator scientists at IMAS and Annalise’s drawings and sculptural works were obvious as both discussed the intricacies of celestial navigation and using the sun to determine position.'


When it was suggested that Annalise could incorporate used geolocation devices, in her artworks, she had other ideas. By bringing together marine predator science and art, Annalise envisaged expired geolocators could be repurposed into wearable art, allowing people to connect with and support important research. With each geolocator having undergone its very own unique Southern Ocean journey Annalise recognised these devices had a special story to tell.

From there, a few pieces of Antarctic scrap metal were salvaged and laser cut into Antarctic wildlife silhouettes; geolocators were collected after having been out in the Southern Ocean on the leg of a seabird or flipper of a seal, cleaned up and re-created into beautiful jewellery with their journey printed out on a map, forming the beginnings of Geolocation Journeys.

Annalise and the marine predator researchers from IMAS would like to thank all guests that attended the launch and donated to the project, taking home a unique Geolocation Journeys creation. Special thanks also to Helen Shield from ABC Radio for her support and enthusiasm, the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music musicians for their interest in marine science and the warm atmosphere they created for the launch, and last but definitely not least, all the wonderful volunteers who helped make the night a huge success.

The ABC article on the Geolocation Journeys launch can be found here.

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