Conscious Gaze
By Serena Zahler and White Tip Reef Shark(s)

Started on: 05/24/10 17:54:59
Medium: Conceptual

I spent time with the White Tip Reef Sharks that live in my Father's fish shop and recorded our connection. My only goal during this experience was to create a connection with a marine species. As I gazed beyond the glass of the shark's tank, I found that his/her gaze was looking right back at me. As I began to move back and forth the shark followed me with his/her eye. He/She didn't get excited thinking that I was going to feed it, but seemed to have a general interest in my presence. While watching the shark and he/she watching me I became aware that from his/her perspective I was behind a pane of glass in a world that was strange and dry. Our mutual view of each other and the different worlds we inhabit is strange and mystified, but is ours together. In our states of mutual interaction and consciousness, I found a moment in time that will connect us to each other and our different worlds though we can never inhabit the other.

After my encounter, my dad confirmed that the shark could indeed see me and was aware of my presence. Now I understand why my dad has such a connection with these sharks in his shop. Most people are scared of sharks and view them only as heartless prediters, but after this experience I believe they have characteristics that make their interactions with humans unique to this interspecies relationship. They follow you around the tank and enjoy watching your every move like a dog. They get excited when you are going to feed them and not only depend on my father for food, but also companionship.

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