DATMA’s “WATER 2021” Brings International Hydro Art, Design, and Technology to Massachusetts’ Southern Coast

NEW BEDFORD, MA March 17, 2021 Massachusetts Design Art and Technology Institute (DATMA), the non-collecting contemporary art institute and its partners will kick off a city-wide, collaborative venture called “WATER 2021” from June 17 through October 17, 2021. DATMA’s free public art projects will examine the role of water within the histories, economies, and cultures of several countries as well as SouthCoast Massachusetts—from its geographic location and its wide-ranging fishing industry to the technologies of the 21st century providing new sources of energy while protecting the fragile ecology of the region. Four internationally recognized artists have been invited by DATMA to present work that will celebrate the essence of water and human beings’ traditional but changing relationship to it in addition to a host of extensive programming with partner organizations.

Exhibition 1Harvesters of the Deep: Portraits of Fisherwomen from South Korea, America, and the United Kingdom

This public outdoor exhibition will showcase largescale but intimate photographic portraits that celebrate the women of the fishing industry around the globe by three artists: Hyung S. Kim, Phil Mello, and Craig Easton. The particular form of fishing in each region – South Korea, America, and the United Kingdom – will be celebrated with photographs to inspire appreciation for the heroism of these underrepresented women and for the talents of the artists who have portrayed them.


Hyung S. Kim’s photographs feature Haenyeo, female divers in the Korean province of Jeju Island whose livelihood consists of harvesting a variety of abalone, clam, and other sea life from the ocean. Kim has documented over 300 Hanyeos from 2012, capturing the women behind the dive. The number of Haenyeo are significantly declining and currently most Haenyeo range in age of 60 to 80. In 2016, the Haenyeo were added to the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.


Phil Mello’s photographic portraits focus on New Bedford’s local waterfront workers, from fish cutters to purveyors, from welders to auctioneers, from lumpers to inspectors, as well as fisherwomen, each vital to the daily operation of supplying seafood to market. This has been part of a project Mello began in 2008 and continues today, documenting the local fishing industry by showing the people who work in it.


Craig Easton’s series FISHERWOMEN follows the historic route of the UK herring fleet, telling a compelling and critical tale of a unique phenomenon in the history of British women at work. From the early 19th until mid-20th century, the herring fishery was one of the most important industries in Scotland. As the fleet tracked the annual migration of the fish, the “Herring Lassies” – a unique band of female-only migratory workers – would mirror the journey on land, stopping in each port to work along the way. The tradition of ‘going to the herring’ was passed from mother to daughter for generations. Today, fisherwomen no longer work on the quay, but are found mostly behind closed doors, working unseen in large fish processing factories, smokehouses, and small family firms all around the UK coast, still fiercely proud to be continuing a great heritage.


Harvesters of the Deep: Portraits of Fisherwomen from South Korea, America, and the United Kingdom will be shown free and open to the public in New Bedford, MA along the harborfront walkways on Macarthur Boulevard and in downtown along Union Street between Water Street and North 2nd Street, from June 17 to October 17, 2021. The exhibition will be accompanied by a digital catalogue with text translations in Portuguese and Korean. The New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center is an official partner.


Exhibition 2 – 280 prepared dc-motors, cotton balls, cardboard boxes 13″ x 13″ x 13″, 2011/2021

Swiss sound-installation artist, Zimoun, will bring a majestic installation sculpture from Switzerland to New Bedford, fill the UMass Dartmouth College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) Star Store Swain Gallery and provide an audible, hypnotic experience to be enjoyed in the gallery or from outside.  A large number of cardboard boxes stacked throughout the gallery space, each with a small dc motor swinging a cotton ball that drums against its surface, will create a multitude of identical noises with the buzzing, beating, and swivelling of hundreds of the same small motors running simultaneously against the boxes.


Zimoun often works with a large number of the same mechanical systems and is interested in sound as an architectonic element, namely sound to create space but also sound to inhabit a room and interact with it. The choice of materials relates to a general interest in simplicity and minimalism—simple, raw, unspectacular, and pure—which Zimoun calls honest materials. Zimoun encourages viewers to reflect and wonder, to think and question the surroundings, thus the titles of the installations are very technical, only describing the materials used.


“I work with three-dimensional sound structures, with spatial experiences and the exploration of sound, material, space, and perception,” Zimoun explains. “In my installation, what you hear is what you see, and what you see is what you hear. It is not a combination of visual and acoustic elements, as both are having the same source. The sound isn’t more important than the visual elements, nor the other way around, as both are the same.”


315 prepared dc-motors, cotton balls, cardboard boxes 13″ x 13″ x 13″, 2011/2021 by Zimoun will be on view at UMass Dartmouth CVPA Star Store Swain Gallery at 715 Purchase Street in New Bedford daily from June 17 to September 13, 2021 from outdoors throughout the day and evening. From Monday to Friday 10am to 3pm, visitors will be able to reserve a timed ticket for indoor gallery access by signing up online at www.DATMA.org.


Exhibition 3Sea Scallops: Sentinels of the Deep

In partnership with the School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) at UMass Dartmouth, Sea Scallops: Sentinels of the Deep will be an exhibition of scientific archival photography capturing the region’s seafloor, the technology used to collect data from the ocean’s diverse ecosystems, and the women in fisheries science conducting this important research that has given the local scallop industry a re-birth and revolutionized fishing on the East Coast. The scallop imagery was captured with advanced underwater video technology developed by Dr. Kevin Stokesbury, Professor of Fisheries Oceanography, and his team of SMAST researchers.


Sea Scallops: Sentinels of the Deep will be a public outdoor exhibition displayed on storefront windows on a series of historic buildings in downtown New Bedford along Union Street between Acushnet Avenue and North 2nd Street from June 17 to October 17, 2021.


“DATMA’s “WATER 2021” brings more exciting art from around the world and puts it on display for the public – fantastic photographs of people and marine life, and a sculptural sound exhibition that shows how the integration of technology and design creates art. Best of all, our entire programming season is spread throughout downtown, within walking distance from each other, free and accessible to people of all ages and interests,” shared Nicholas Sullivan, Board Chair of DATMA.


“Following last year’s successful “LIGHT 2020” programming, we wanted to continue our wave of impact with “WATER 2021”,” said Lindsay Mis, Executive Director of DATMA. “It was important for us to design our exhibitions in code with CDC Guidelines so audience members would feel comfortable about viewing an outdoor exhibition in person. In many ways, the exhibitions touch on the region’s coastal innovations, while being part of an international conversation. This area is truly a melting pot of ideas and people, as it has been since its whaling days hundreds of years ago.”


In addition to commissioned artists, DATMA will collaborate with the City of New Bedford, and several local non-profits, schools, universities, and businesses to bring “WATER 2021” to New Bedford. These partners will coordinate tours and student field trips, lead design, art, and technology workshops, host symposiums, present digital exhibitions and documentaries. Partner collaborators include: Fishing Heritage Center (FHC); YMCA New Bedford; Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical School (GNBVT); Our Sisters’ School; UMass Dartmouth College of Visual & Performing Arts (CVPA) & School for Marine Science & Technology (SMAST); Community Boating Center; New Bedford Whaling Historic Park; Seaglass Theater; The Drawing Room; New Bedford Science Café; South Coast Surface Design; New Bedford Symphony Orchestra; 3rd Eye Unlimited; Arts, History, Architecture (AHA!); New Bedford Ballet, and the City of New Bedford.

Additional programming from DATMA and partner collaborators during “WATER 2021” will include:


Online – Virtual Launch Event

The “WATER 2021” Virtual Launch Event will be co-hosted with 3rd EyE Unlimited, a non-profit where youth empowerment engage, unite, and activate the community through hip hop culture and mentorship to become transformative leaders. The event will feature dance performances by 3rd EyE Unlimited members and guest speakers, including New Bedford Poet Laurette Patricia Gomes’ debut of a new poem inspired by water, tours of DATMA’s exhibitions, and more. The event will be held on June 17, 2021 from 6 to 8 pm and is open to all. Sign up at www.DATMA.org.




Online – Harvesters of the Deep: Portraits of Fisherwomen from South Korea, America, and the United Kingdom

An expanded online collection from the portfolios of photographers Hyung S. Kim, Phil Mello, and Craig Easton will be available on www.DATMA.org during the 2021 program season.


Artist Talk and Online Documentary – Harvesters of the Deep: Portraits of Fisherwomen from South Korea, America, and the United Kingdom

Photographers Hyung S. Kim, Phil Mello, and Craig Easton will hold a series of talks to share the unique cultural stories about each respective subject matter plus an interactive Q&A segment. The events will also feature the Fishing Heritage Center, a resource for the people and families of the New Bedford fishing community. In addition, DATMA and the Fishing Heritage Center will present documentaries highlighting the “Herring Lassies,” Haenyeo Divers, and New Bedford fisher-workers. To be held throughout July 2021 with more information on www.DATMA.org.


Online – Virtual Walking Tour with the National Park Service Ranger Guide

Known as a gem of the National Park System and in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, park rangers have created an alternative opportunity for visitors to enjoy the park and explore the diverse park stories. With “WATER 2021” in mind, guests can take an in-person or virtual tour with the online ranger guide to learn about New Bedford while identifying the buildings in the city’s historic district at risk from sea level rise. Visit www.nps.gov/nebe/planyourvisit/guided-tours to take a virtual tour.


Exhibition – Artistic Interpretation of a Marine Heatwave

Dartmouth based artist Deborah Ehrens in collaboration with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Scientists Dr. Caroline Ummenhofer and Dr. Svenja Ryan will create an artistic installation to represent how data from the past is being mined to better understand the current-day climate and the effects of marine heatwaves. From June 9 until June 23, 2021 at South Coast Surface Design in New Bedford and will feature window display for outdoor viewing.


Exhibition – More than a Job

The non-profit New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center will celebrate its 5th anniversary with the opening of a new permanent exhibit which will explore the themes of labor, immigration, sustainability, and significant digital storytelling as well as a focus on women’s roles in the fishing community. Four years in the making, the exhibit will also provide an introduction to the workings of the fishing industry with immersive experiences including a working deck, wheelhouse, and focsle. Opens June 25, 2021.


Exhibition – Women’s Work: At Sea, On Shore, At Home, In the Community

The New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center will shine a light on the many roles women play in commercial fishing communities through this exhibition and a series of public programs. Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Women’s Fisheries Network, Mass Cultural Council and the New Bedford, Mattapoisett, and Westport Cultural Councils, programming will run now through December, 2021 and the exhibition will run from August 12 to December 31, 2021.


Exhibition – Tides and Time

For its 8th season, Seaport Art Walk will present a juried outdoor sculpture exhibition with the theme reflecting on the current ever-changing climate, whether that be the ocean, environment, economy, politics, or social justice. The exhibition will run from July 9 until October 17, 2021 along New Bedford’s working waterfront in the Seaport Cultural District.


Exhibition – Fractured Light

Paintings by local artist Michele Poirier-Mozzone will be featured with each piece taken by a waterproof GoPro filming subjects underwater. The freedom to explore unique angles and play with perspective, sometimes looking up at the model, captured natural movement and distortion from below the surface of the water. Paintings oOn view during August 2021 at The Drawing Room in downtown New Bedford with an artist talk on August 12, 2021.



Seaglass Theater Company will present The Lure of the Sea, a staged concert of classical repertoire that highlights the relationship of fishermen and women to the sea.  The concert features excerpts from Joseph Haydn’s Le Pescatrici (The Fishermen), Georges Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers, and Emilio Arrieta’s Marina. The repertoire will take place on August 26, 2021 at the New Bedford Whaling Museum in New Bedford.


Members from the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra will play a pop-up performance on the New Bedford waterfront with “WATER 2021” artwork as a backdrop. The performance will take place on July 8, 2021.


The New Bedford Youth Ballet will perform among Zimoun’s sculpture in the Swain Gallery as part of its end of season performance line-up. The performance will take place in July 2021.



The 25th anniversary of New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park celebrates a quarter century of interpretation, preservation, and partnerships. In partnership with DATMA, the National Park Service will invite rangers who specialize in creating signage and info graphics for the nation’s National Parks to teach youth about communicating through design. The workshops will take place in September 2021. www.DATMA.org.


Intended for all ages to be engaged, all exhibitions and program activities are designed for both a physical and virtual level of participation to account for safety measures during the Covid-19 pandemic. The “WATER 2021” program series is all free and open to the public.




About the Massachusetts Design Art and Technology Institute (DATMA)

The Massachusetts Design Art and Technology Institute (DATMA) was founded to enhance the evolving dynamic cultural and economic life of Southcoast Massachusetts. DATMA is committed to bringing world-renowned art, design, and technology exhibitions, programs, and initiatives to the visitors and citizens of New Bedford and the region, identified as the one of the Commonwealth’s most creative economies by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. As an exhibitor of public art, DATMA collaborates with the business and education sectors of the region to expand public awareness, bringing new cultural assets into the mix.


In 2020, DATMA presented “LIGHT 2020”, consisting of virtual programs and outdoor exhibitions for audiences to engage with artwork from the outdoors during the Covid-19 pandemic. “LIGHT 2020”, inspired by the 19th century whaling industry in New Bedford (also known as “the city that lit the world”) focused on programs united by the theme of light. Three large-scale digital projections with unique musical accompaniment called “Vessels” by Boston’s MASARY Studios and artist Soo Sunny Park’s “Photo-Kinetic Grid” exhibition was showcased last summer. Previously in 2019, DATMA and its partners kicked off a city-wide, collaborative venture called “Summer Winds”. DATMA commissioned a large-scale, site specific architectural art installation called “Silver Current”—created by internationally celebrated and Los Angeles, CA based artist Patrick Shearn and his Poetic Kinetics team—hanging over Custom House Square in New Bedford, MA, receiving notable reviews near and far.


Founded in 2016, DATMA has a diverse, highly motivated 16-member Board of Trustees including prominent members of the regional and global business, civic, philanthropic, arts, design, and technology sectors. Roger Mandle, Co-Founder and former Board Chair of DATMA, passed away in November, 2020. He had 40 years of experience in building museums around the world and was a major contributor of the STEM to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) education initiative, championed by the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), which he had served as President. www.DATMA.org


About Hyung S. Kim

Born in Seoul, Korea, Kim has been working in commercial photography for years until he encountered Haenyeo in 2012. His work has exhibited in a variety of cities including Boston, MA; New York City, NY; Los Angeles, CA; San Francisco, CA; London, UK; Geneva, Switzerland; Toulouse, France; Dublin, Ireland; Sydney, Australia; Seoul, Korea; Beijing, China; Taipei, Taiwan; and Stockholm, Sweden. www.hyungskim.com


About Craig Easton

Easton shoots long-term documentary projects exploring issues around social policy, identity and a sense of place. Originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, he is known for his intimate portraits and expansive landscape, his work regularly combines these elements with reportage approaches to storytelling, often working collaboratively with others to incorporate words, pictures and audio in a research-based practice that weaves a narrative between contemporary experience and history. A passionate believer in working collaboratively with others, Easton conceived and led the critically acclaimed SIXTEEN project with 16 leading photographers exploring the hopes, ambitions and fears of 16-year-olds all around the UK which was shown in over 20 exhibitions throughout 2019/2020 culminating in three simultaneous shows in London. In addition, his photographs are published and exhibited around the world and held in private collections and museum archives internationally including in Barcelona, Spain; Liverpool, UK; St. Andrews, Scotland; and Belfast, Ireland. www.craigeaston.com


About Phil Mello

In the 46 years Mello has been active on the waterfront, he has seen and documented many of the changes that have occurred during that time. Based in New Bedford, MA, and never without a camera nearby, he has amassed significant portfolio of images of these changes and the people that were instrumental in making them happen. His past exhibitions include at the New Bedford Whaling Museum titled “Working Waterfront: Photographic Portraits” in November 2009; The New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center titled “Nautical Tattoos & the stories behind them” in August to October 2017; work being published in the National Fisherman Magazine; and 20 images on display at Library of Congress Washington D.C. since 2019. www.philmellophoto.com


About Zimoun

Zimoun is best known for his generally site-specific, immersive installations. He employs mechanical principles of rotation and oscillation to put materials into motion and thus produce sounds. For this he principally uses simple materials from everyday life and industrial usage, such as cardboard, DC motors, cables, welding wire, wooden spars or ventilators. For his works Zimoun develops small apparatuses which, despite their fundamental simplicity, generate a tonal and visual complexity once activated – particularly when a large number of such mechanical contraptions, generally hundreds of them, are united and orchestrated in installations and sculptures. Zimoun’s works continually embrace oppositional positions, such as the principles of order and chaos. Works may be arranged in a geometrical pattern or ordered and installed according to a system, yet they behave chaotically and act – within a carefully prepared framework of possibilities – in an uncontrolled manner as soon as they are mechanically activated. Zimoun lives and works in Bern, Switzerland. Recent displays of his work include exhibitions at the Hayward Gallery London; Museum of Contemporary Art MAC Santiago de Chile; Nam June Paik Art Museum Seoul; Mumbai City Museum; National Art Museum Beijing; Le Centquatre Paris; Ringling Museum of Art Florida; among others. www.zimoun.net


About Dr. Kevin Stokesbury

Kevin Stokesbury earned his PhD in Marine Ecology at the Universite Laval in 1994 and joined the School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) at UMass Dartmouth as a faculty member in 2000. His groundbreaking research using advanced underwater video technology counts and identifies fish underwater, which helps protect specific breeds, identify specific species in every image, and guide regulators on the management of fisheries. His innovative technology has been pivotal in the revival of the scallop industry, and has helped the city of New Bedford, MA maintain its position as the nation’s No.1 fishing port for two decades.