Irreversible Journey


Irreversible Journey Square Image

Brooke Elliott

All sea turtles are endangered with 3 out of 7 species being considered critically endangered. This is due to many environmental factors such as poaching, pollution in our oceans, and climate change, as well as other issues such as light pollution from coastal development. When baby turtles hatch on the beach they need to get into the ocean as quickly as they can, to do this they rely on their instincts of looking for the brightest area, which used to be the ocean, a large body of water reflecting the light of the moon and stars. However now with stars and natural light being washed out and overpowered by artificial light from our coastal cities the baby turtles become confused and instead head inland. This gives predators much more time to prey on the wandering turtles, causes them to crawl into dangerous, busy streets where they get crushed by cars, getting stuck and dying in manmade structures like pools and storm drains, and ultimately dying of dehydration as they fail to make it to the water in time, if at all. Tragically, in a study done by Nova Southeastern University in 2020 stated “the best scientific estimates available indicate that only one in 1,000 to 10,000 hatchlings will survive (anywhere from 20-50 years) to become an adult sea turtle.” And those beginning hours are crucial.

My intent with Irreversible Journey is to create a large-scale interactive painting that breaks from the standards of traditional viewership. I wanted to create a powerful statement piece that could help introduce the idea of light pollution and the impact it has on the environment and animals such as the sea turtles.My design choices were made to make this piece as captivating and memorable as possible. I wanted to give my audience an opportunity to initiate an ongoing, internal dialog about the impact of one’s actions on the world.

Upon first glance, my piece will appear to be a large, roughly 3 by 5 feet, acrylic painting in a large gold frame on a large white box “wall” The acrylic painting will be a tranquil scene of baby sea turtles hatching and moving across the beach towards the ocean under a beautiful moon and starlit sky. This painting is done on a large piece of Lexan, a clear polycarbonate sheet. Hidden behind this painting is a second digital painting. The “wall” is actually a large cabinet that contains hidden 70” High-Definition Plasma TV that is displaying the digital painting which lines up with the first one. Upon closer inspection viewers will see and be encouraged to scratch away the paint on the glass to reveal the digital painting underneath. The digital painting has a much darker and sad reality for the baby sea turtles. Instead of heading towards the sea, they are stuck crossing a road trying to go towards the city, some of them even crushed by cars. Both paintings are lined up in a way so that as the top one is destroyed it creates a transition from a beautiful nature scene to a light polluted city and for the turtles, a transition from safety to danger and some life to death. I hope this striking contrast of imagery will help tell the sea turtles' story.