Fishes Feed Us

An informal education and public engagement project about the human consequences of collapsing ocean fisheries.

This project had multiple components: an international kids fishes blog; small animations of ocean creatures for the project’s web-pages; an extensive website documenting the project as an “open-source” model for others; and a youth performance on the United Nations Plaza in New York City sponsored by the United Nations’ Environment Programme for their World Environment Day on June 5, 2007.

Boys moving as Ocean Catfish; I created the performative objects (above/below)

(above) Two of the three styles of cardboard fishes I created as the sole “props” for this performative component.

Without ever mentioning the word “advocacy”… When leaving the U.N. Plaza after their performance, the kids rushed up to me and said: “We want to write a letter to The President (George Bush II) telling him about this situation in our oceans.” Their “doing” had inspired next-step actions by them! However, I came to learn that it was not out of empathy for the fish, but for the kids in the Philippines who could no longer go to school because they had to fish all day, so their family had a source of protein — fishes the size of those in goldfish bowls in the USA!