The Ocean Inside A Video and Printmaking Project on the Ocean and Climate Change

Scroll down to learn more about the OCEAN INSIDE

We are water

Our bodies share the most precious liquid on the planet: Water. Three quarters of our bodyweight consist of water. Seventy percent of our planet-surface is covered with water.

Emerging from the sea onto land billions of years ago, life took its aquatic origins along; a Hypersea, encapsulated in an architecture of veins and root-systems. We are mostly made out of water. It moves in and out of us, sustaining us. From this point of view, it is difficult to separate organism from environment.

We breathe the ocean

"...if all creatures in the ocean would die tomorrow, life on land would die as well. We air-breathers are fully dependent on marine life for keeping us alive, not least because sun-feeding plankton still produce every second breath you and I are taking now". Alanna Mitchell

The connecting principle is Metabolism- in our body, environment and in our society. The metabolism in our bodies is powered by our breath and dependent on healthy lungs. The air we breathe is affected by the interaction of our society in its environment.

oxygen from the sea

Most of us don’t realize that the oceans are even larger Lungs of the Earth than the forests, and that phytoplankton, or algae in the ocean, are estimated to contribute between at least 50 up to 85 percent of the oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere.

I have developed an iconography of interconnected patterns that express the Web of Life. My most recent patterns investigate plankton and microscopic algae.
Phytoplankton are the carbon-binders in the ocean and providers of oxygen. They also are the foundation of the food chain.
Every second breath we take is provided by these single-celled algae, which are gracefully wrapped in micro-skeletons of calcium and silica.
In visualising their connection with us, I want to make the issues around climate change and pollution in the oceans less abstract and a more personal experience.

Corals are a foundation species

"....They have all the other organisms that depend on them. A consortium of organisms that cooperate together, that now manifests in this massive structure, that can be seen from space.” Ruth Gates, Marine Biologist. From the documentary: Chasing Coral 2017

global temperature is rising

Seven billion humans inhabit this planet and as a species, we have become a geological force. Not only are we capable of altering the landscape and balance of the biosphere, we have altered them. The impact is deeply affecting the oceans, in the form of over-fishing, pollution, rising temperatures, and acidification.

"I explore the concepts of Evolution and the Biosphere, of living matter being inseparably connected within the geological envelope of the Earth. Current rapid changes to the Earth’s climate, land, and oceans invited debate on the definition of a new geological epoch, labeled the Anthropocene. It is the most recent epoch in the history of the planet, during which human activity has caused fundamental changes to the Biosphere."

ice melting, sea levels rising

The ocean has a fever

“We look at climate change as if it is an issue in the air and we say: 'one or two degrees Celsius; does it really matter'? But when you talk about the ocean, it is like your body temperature changing. Imagine your body temperature rises one ... or two degrees centigrade. Over a period of time, that will be fatal….and that is the seriousness of the issue, when you look at it in terms of the Ocean.” Richard Vevers, Underwater Photographer, From the documentary: Chasing Coral 2017

corals are bleaching

“Coral Bleaching in itself is a stress response, much like a fever in humans is a stress response. If the temperature spikes just a little bit above their normal range, corals will start to bleach. The small plants that live inside their tissues, their ability to photosynthesize and feed the animal host is impaired....."
".......The animal essentially senses, 'what I have got inside of me is not doing what I expect it to do', and as happens with us when we get a bacteria; we try to get rid of it as quickly as possible. That is exactly what these animals do. They try to get rid of those plants that are no longer functional, and leave behind the transparent naked tissue. They have lost the very most important food source that they have. So they are starting to starve.”

Ruth Gates, marine biologist. From the documentary: Chasing Coral 2017

The bright white you see at first is the skeleton. If the reef is not living, it will overgrow with algae and the structure will disintegrate. The whole ecosystem will change and many dependent species will disappear.
Many attempts are made to regrow coral, as the reefs form natural protection from damaging waves during storms and hurricanes.

plastic pollution

As a record-breaking sailor, Dame Ellen MacArthur has seen more of the world’s oceans than almost anyone else. Now she is warning that there will be more waste plastic in the sea than fish by 2050, unless the industry cleans up its act.

According to a report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in 2016, “at least 8m tonnes of plastics leak into the ocean – which is equivalent to dumping the contents of one garbage truck into the ocean every minute. If no action is taken, this is expected to increase to two per minute by 2030 and four per minute by 2050"

Research released a year ago found there were more than 5tn pieces of plastic floating in the seas, many just 5mm across. Larger items can be a threat to sea life such as turtles and seals, which swallow them.
A carelessly discarded plastic bag can break down in the sea, especially in warmer waters, but the process releases toxic chemicals that may be digested by fish and end up in the human food chain.
Scientists have also found that countless tiny fragments drift to the bottom of the oceans, carpeting the sea bed. The environmental and health impact of this is unknown.

the ocean veil experience


The OCEAN INSIDE uses synthetic materials to express forms and patterns found in nature, and our society’s relationship with it. By creating and visualizing an iconographic, interconnected web of life, abstract concepts such as climate change or pollution are transformed into a singular, personal experience.

The OCEAN INSIDE was created in 2017 by Eveline Kolijn.


The reflecting, printed pattern on the voile intersects the video projection, a network representing the Web of Life.


The location for this veil should be a darkened space and if the veil hangs a few meters off the wall in the room, the visitor can also move behind it and become immersed in the projection.

creating the ocean inside

about the artist

Eveline Kolijn is a Dutch-Canadian artist whose interest in the biological sciences and concern for the environment is expressed through printmaking and sculptural installations made from found synthetic materials. Her interests were encouraged by an international childhood spent in France, Venezuela, Belgium, the Dutch Antilles, the Netherlands and Australia.

Natural history has always permeated her life. She grew up in the Caribbean, where she and her family collected and corresponded on Caribbean shells, building an extensive and well-documented collection. In 2008, the collection was donated to Naturalis, the museum of natural history in Leiden, the Netherlands. A variety of ideas on evolution influenced her upbringing as well. From books on this topic she absorbed images depicting visible and invisible life and connected them with the forms and patterns found on the beach and in the sea.

making the veil

The first Ocean Veil was printed with white inks and mica powder on sheer polyester voile, which Eveline sewed into a cylindrical shape to mimic a plankton collecting net. She carved a linocut and handprinted a phytoplankton pattern that was both reflecting and blocking light, depending on the position of the light source. This printed mica-base turned out to be an amazing reflective screen for video projection. She created a new plankton pattern on a 55 x 90 cm linoleum sheet and printed a projection-surface of 180 cm high and 240 cm wide. She is now exploring possibilities of creating an even larger Veil.


In the past decade, Eveline has taken countless photographs related to the sea and marine biology. She revisited Curacao, the Caribbean Island where she grew up, many times. In more recent years she also used a GoPro action cam to film underwater footage. The OCEAN INSIDE video features footage from Curacao, Bonaire, Canada, Greece, New Zealand, Namibia and Iceland. The current video is a project in progress and is still being edited and fine tuned. The next focus will be on trimming the footage and developing the audio. In 2018, Eveline will start recording voiceovers in several different languages.

Created By
Eveline kolijn


All images copyright Eveline Kolijn

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