Once nature starts to consume anything man-made, it can be downright creepy. An abandoned parking lot where weeds have broken through the cracks, an old vacant house being covered in ivy, a church where mushrooms grow from the rotten pews — leave a place for a few years in the right climate and it can feel post-apocalyptic in a hurry. But nothing quite hits that feeling of “Oh, okay, the world has ended and I’m the only one left and what I do from here on out defines the last moments of humanity” like underwater sculptures. And if you’d like to live that post-apocalyptic lifestyle, but you know, still want to be able to enjoy life’s simple pleasures like potato chips and marijuana, then a visit to the Maldives is in order.
The nation has constructed the world’s first semi-submerged museum, and the results look straight out of a Ridley Scott movie.
In a collaboration between luxury resort the Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi, and British artist-environmentalist Jason deCaires Taylor, The Coralarium, located in the Shaviyani Atoll, is home to 30 sculptures made of marine-grade cement housed in a three-level, pH neutral, stainless steel cube. Sculptures are spread throughout the three levels, consisting of casts of real people, inspired by the mushrooms and banyan trees that are common to the islands with roots for legs symbolizing a connection with nature. It’s not unlike some of the imagery found in Alex Garland’s most recent film, Annihilation, only there won’t be any mutated bear’s growling the screams of their last victims at you and there most certainly won’t be two Natalie Portman’s (although there will surely be a lot of influencers).
The semi-submerged museum isn’t merely a tourist attraction, “The Coralarium is a place of preservation, conservation, and education. Together with the resort, we hope to raise awareness for the protection of the Maldivian coral reefs… I want to see a better future for the ocean, for people to see it as a delicate place, worthy of our protection” said Taylor in a statement reported by CNN.
Over time, algae and soft coral will cover the cement and spread throughout the gallery offering a future home for sea creatures in the textured surfaces of the artwork. Because its located in the intertidal zone, sculptures will become more or less submerged based on the tide, making the experience vastly different depending on the time of day. So base your desired level of apocalyptic doom on the tide, which already sounds like some cultist-shit anyway!
The Coralarium is open, but only available to guests of the resort as of now.