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World of WearableArt 2023

Oceans of Mars: Birth of the Babel Fish   2023

Marion Gaemers and Lynnette Griffiths

Materials:  Ghost Net, reclaimed rope, fishing gear


Regenerated life enfolds a Queen as she births fluorescent Babel Fish.

Beneath the surface the Oceans of Mars are teaming with life. Living within is the Babel Queen. She lives below giving birth to thousands of Babel fish. There are worker fish that team around the colony nurturing the new babel fish. The ones that are fed the Queens jelly come to the surface of the planet to become travellers that will be adopted by all planetary races to interpret the interplanetary languages for all travellers and hitch hikers. 

Creating a living fantasy from beneath the surface of Mars where vast tracks of ancient oceans lie.


Imagine a mega-tsunami sucking all the Earths plastic and creating an ocean on Mars that disappears beneath the surface… The life that forms within from this mess of tangled marine debris draws inspiration from Douglas Adams writings, creating an evolutionary tale for the famed Babel Fish. Emerging from the sunken oceans of Mars, luminous, regenerated, hand-stitched life enfolds a Queen as she births strange slug like fluorescent babies and propels them onward into deep space on a mission to interpret interplanetary languages that allows galactic travellers and hitchhikers to communicate freely.


Creating evolutionary tales from marine debris, ghost net,  is what Griffiths and Gaemers do as they sit together stitching. Collaboratively sharing deep respect for the makers circle and recycling is both productive and wildly creative.


They create textural handstitched fabric by deconstructing and stitching together decarded net and rope. This project has allowed them to explore the fluorescent nature of fishing gear as they probe the curious with their passion for the handmade. The metamorphosis of material to object is inspiring and appealing to both; Gaemers who is a sci-fi enthusiast and to Griffiths sense of surreal fantasy and costume.


Stitched swirls, whirlpools, coral and small fish construct the layers of an imaginary ocean floor reflected in a regal form. The different habitats and creatures metamorphosise from the waste, emerging from the strata of the landscape, that is the garment. The fluorescent babel fish swim free, as Douglas Adams intended in the 1970’s seminal work Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy.


Griffiths and Gaemers have chosen to bring attention to the increasingly adverse impacts on the natural environments they both love and immerse themselves in. They spend months producing their works using 100% fishing gear which is 99% reclaimed material.

It is hard to think of a more fitting symbol for the environmental crisis than a Ghost Net. Much like global warming and pollution, they exist as colossal, relatively slow-moving menaces in the abyss. Because they are literally beneath the surface they also exist, much like the issue, almost as an abstraction. Until, of course, they are not just an abstraction. Birth of the Babel Fish counters the abstractness of this issue, placing it in a human context as a wearable garment.

Supplied by Lynnette Griffiths

Video Source: Keiran James | Rockpool Productions


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