Ascension of Cod
Will Pappenheimer 2017

Commissioned by and for the exhbition: The Augmented Landscape
Salem Maritime National Historic Site, Salem, MA

In its early days Salem Merchant trade specialized in the export of cod fish to bring home molasses, oranges, iron, salt and wines. Massachusetts Bay cod, the Atlantic Cod or Gadus morhua, were so plentiful that they became the hallmark of New England fisheries and trade. Up until recently. A 2014 NOAA scientific survey revealed that up to 80% of the cod have been either fished or suffered from the effects of warming oceans. A recent Discovery Channel film, "Sacred Cod," documents the struggle between the cod fisherman's livelihood and science behind the fisheries' regulation. "Ascension of Cod," premiering for this exhibition, suggests the shared hallowed role that the species plays in these two perspectives. This work augmented reality work creates a school of virtual cod swimming upwards in a column around and above Scale House as if in an ascension to the heavens. It is in some sense both a reverence and farewell vision of the species that has fed us so well.

Ascension of Cod at the Custom House, Salem, MA, iPad screenshot