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Cool Spots, Happenings, sightseeing

Check Out These Amazing New Underwater Sculptures Off the Coast of Catalina

December 8, 2016 by Brian Champlin

Sure, you’ve seen a lot of art sculptures in your time. But have you ever been up close to experience an art installation that’s tethered to the ocean floor?

Well, here’s your chance.

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Artist Bruce Aitken’s Underwater Pavilions recently opened to the public off the coast of southeast Catalina Island, about 22 miles from the shores of Los Angeles. Simply put, this looks pretty damn cool.

Underwater Pavilions is a set of three large-scale, temporary installations that create a dynamic underwater seascape by reflecting the surrounding environment through their mirror construction.

Free divers, snorkelers, and scuba divers can then swim through the art, gleaning a totally unique experience depending on their vantage point and the ever-changing environmental factors (water currents, time, sunlight angle, etc…).

The installation was produced by Parley for the Oceans and presented in partnership with The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. The materials utilized to build the three structures included glass mirrors and hand-carved composite that were chosen to maximize the reflective, kaleidoscope-like quality of the art. Each structure was dropped into its location using a crane and then carefully moored to the seafloor below.

You can check out some footage of the installation via a YouTube clip embedded below.

[RELATED16 Fun Things to Do on Catalina Island If You Happen to Make The Trip]

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via Parley Channel / YouTube

The artist also posted a few shots and clips of the installation process to his Instagram (also embedded below).

The Underwater Pavilions⠀ ⠀ #DougAitken #underwaterpavilions @parley.tv @mocalosangeles

A video posted by Doug Aitken Workshop (@dougaitkenworkshop) on

So… your interest is sufficiently piqued?  Let’s talk logistics.

First off, the exact location of the sculptures is in Descanso Bay, directly north of the City of Avalon Dive Park (southeast Catalina). Check out the map below for an approximate reference point.

Underwater Pavilions Map

Image via Under Water Pavilions

If you plan to make the trek out to Catalina, then here are few items you might want to keep in mind:

– You can check the Catalina Express ferry schedule to see about getting out to the Island or you can look into other transportation options. The ferry trip takes about an hour and tickets start at $36.

– According to the official Underwater Pavilions website it is recommended you going during daylight hours or right before sunset to get the maximum kaleidoscope effect of the art.

– Although there is technically no cost to view the sculpture, be sure to factor in how you’re going to access it, whether that involves snorkeling or scuba. While it is not required to be scuba certified to visit the installation, it is recommended you get a lesson from a certified dive instructor before attempting. Here are few scuba options on Catalina (via Yelp).

Underwater Pavilions officially opened on Dec. 4, and while there is no official timeline for its run, it is expected to be moved at some point. Check back to the official website to learn more info as it becomes available.

If you’re interested in learning more about the artist keep in mind that Under Water Pavilions is being presented by MOCA as a tandem exhibition to Doug Aitken: Electric Earth, which is on view now at the Geffen Contemporary through Jan. 17, 2017.

To learn more Doug Aitken you can visit his official website.

Enjoy!

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