The Bathysphere @ NYA

In celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Bathysphere’s half-mile dive (3,028 feet) below the ocean’s surface on August 15, 1934 Tape Art created three murals on and around the New York Aquarium at Coney Island. The half-mile dive set a new record for the furthest human exploration into the deep that remained unbroken for years after.

The capsule was the result of the partnership between Dr. William Beebe and Mr. Otis Barton, who descended together into the depths within the small metal sphere. Measuring only 4 feet 9 inches in diameter, there was was not enough room in the Bathysphere for a camera. Instead the explorers used a telephone line to verbally describe the deep sea creatures they saw to Gloria Hollister back on deck. Later these descriptions were used to create paintings and sketches of never-before-seen marine life.

For a more complete history of the Bathysphere and Beebe and Barton’s adventures in the the deep, read Beebe’s account in Half Mile Down.

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In the mural at the entrance to the aquarium, the Bathysphere encounters two of the four fish that were described by Beebe and Barton but have not been seen since. Their scale is a reflection of the epic nature of their original description and the mystery of their disappearance.

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On the Coney Island boardwalk the deck of a ship is busy as the Bathysphere prepares to depart on one of its dives off the coast of Bermuda. Beebe, Barton and Hollister are highlighted in green and the aquariums on deck are filled with interpretations of the fish described by the explorers.

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Outside the new Bathysphere exhibit at the aquarium, Beebe and Barton stare out the windows of the Bathysphere at a world of bioluminescent fish and coral reefs.

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