Ocean waves in art, industry, and science
School of Critical Studies, University of Glasgow &
Greenhouse Center for Environmental Humanities at the University of Stavanger, Norway
Aster Hoving, originally from the Netherlands, is a doctoral researcher in Environmental Humanities with the Greenhouse Center for Environmental Humanities at the University of Stavanger, Norway. She is currently in the second year of her PhD research, in which she compares how energy companies, scientists, and artists engage with the ocean’s energies. Aster’s published work can be found on the website Environmental History Now (2021) and in the print collection Solarities (forthcoming 2023).
During her EARTH Scholarship exchange, Aster was based at the University of Glasgow to investigate waves as aesthetic, economic, and scientific resources. Her project investigated how the ephemeral nature of waves is mediated in ecological and technological objects, particularly seashells and wave energy converters. As an island with extensive coastlines, Scotland’s rich ocean cultures were foundational to her project, which included plenty of on-site fieldwork. Through this fieldwork across Scotland, at an artistic research hub, a marine energy centre, and a scientific museum, Aster worked to make interdisciplinary and methodological advances in the environmental arts and humanities.
The following collection of photographs chronicles Aster’s fieldwork as she travelled across Scotland. The first three images combined are called “a wave in three frames” and as such evoke a basic question that guided Aster’s research: what does it mean to capture a wave? The second set of images depict her engagement with the Scottish coasts, beaches, sea, and marine organisms and plants during her residency at artistic research hub KNOCKvologan on the Isle of Mull. The third set of images represent Aster’s dive into the history, science, and technology of shells, exploring the natural and cultural shell collections of the Hunterian Museum and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery in Glasgow. The final set of images are the result of her fieldwork at the wave energy test site of the European Marine Energy Center on the Orkney Islands.