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Tech Diving into Pop Culture

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Header image: A tech-inspired jacket from Supreme’s 2021 Junya Watanabe/Comme des Garçons collaboration.

Skaters, punks and hip-hop heads can now manifest their inner tekkie, with this underground-inspired jacket from fashion maker Supreme as part of their Fall/Winter 2021 Collection. The iconic image is cave explorer Olivier Isler entering Doux de Coly in Dordogne, France for his return 1998 expedition, wearing his fully redundant RI 2000 semi-closed rebreather with an oxygen rebreather for decompression. 

Olivier Isler during his 1998 expedition to Doux De Coly. Photo by Gavin Newman

As Isler explained to InDepth, “It was a very hard expedition. The line was broken in a lot of places. The final dive was the most trying dive of my career. Just to progress from 4055 to 4300m, I needed to put 1150 m of line. I spent 6 hours at depth (avg. depth 50m/165 f) and 10 hours decompression. I used JP Imbert’s Heliox tables for saturation. I carried one big scooter and a small safety but was able to fin my way back if necessary, thanks to the saturation [decompression] schedule. I used deco bottles in the shaft but nothing but the fully autonomous RI 2000 in all other parts of the sump.” 

How did the pioneering explorer feel about his dive being elevated to pop culture fashion status?

“When  the marketing people from Supreme contacted me earlier this year I was surprised by their idea to make fashion with my image. I guess they were looking for something impressive—something more impressive than standard open water gear. Certainly, the RI-2000 is imposing but the whole configuration is compact and well-ordered around the diver. I always tried to look a bit professional! I will be 72 years old in January. So I am not sure I’m wearing this jacket in public! But I must admit that the look is fine.”

So how does he feel about being portrayed as pop fashion icon? “It is nice of course to be elevated to pop culture status.” Isler chuckled. “It’s a form of recognition. But the most important recognition for me is the recognition from the diving world.”—InDepth

Olivier Isler circa 1990s with is RI-2000 semi-closed rebreather. Courtesy aquaCORPS archives.
Olivier today.


Art

Rock & Water

Sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor evokes the sacred, populating underwater seascapes with corporeal objets d’art, meant to be assimilated by the sea.

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Text, photography and art courtesy of Jason deCaires Taylor.

Crossing the Rubicon, Museo Atlántico, Lanzarote, Spain, Atlantic Ocean

“Museums are places of conservation, education, and about protecting something sacred. We need to assign those same values to our oceans.”

Nexus, Oslo Fjord, Norway
Museo Subacuático de Arte, Isla Mujeres, Cancun, Mexico
Museo Subacuático de Arte, Isla Mujeres, Cancun, Mexico

As soon as we sink them, they belong to the sea.

The Rising Tide, River Thames, Vauxhall, London

“The Rising Tide was located within sight of the Houses of Parliament. The politician on a petroleum horse was an obvious metaphor for how fossil fuel companies are embedded into our politician system. I think we really have to start holding people accountable for what they are doing. And that needs to be documented in stone rather than in a few words in a newspaper column that disappears. There are a lot of people whose actions need to be immortalised.”

The Raft of Lampedusa, Museo Atlántico, Lanzarote, Spain, Atlantic Ocean
Museo Subacuático de Arte, Isla Mujeres, Cancun, Mexico
Nexus, Oslo Fjord, Norway
The Coral Greenhouse, John Brewer Reef, Australia, Pacific Ocean
The Silent Evolution, Museo Subacuático de Arte, Isla Mujeres, Cancun, Mexico

“It is named a museum for a simple reason. Every day we dredge, pollute and overfish our oceans, while museums are places of preservation, of conservation, and of education. They are places where we keep objects that have great value to us. Our oceans are sacred.”

Check out www.underwatersculpture.com for a lot more amazing work!


Jason deCaires Taylor MRSS is an award winning sculptor, environmentalist and professional underwater photographer. For the past 16 years, Taylor has been creating underwater museums and sculpture parks beneath the waves, submerging over 1,100 living artworks throughout the world’s oceans and seas. Themes explored by these artistic installations include, among others, the climate emergency, environmental activism, and the regenerative attributes of nature. The sculptures create a habitat for marine life whilst illustrating humanity’s fragility and its relationship with the marine world. Taylor’s subjects mainly feature members of the local community, focussing on their connections with their own coastal environments.

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