Tuesday 13 January 2015

Marineland Oceanarium

Florida – Perpetual State of Wonders - Alligator Farms, Rattlesnake Ranches, Mystery Houses, Ringling Brothers Circus, the Green Benches, Fountain of Youth and the Singing Tower. Marineland opened in 1938 as the world’s first Oceanarium – a visitor attraction featuring sea dwelling mammals. Giant Turtles, Sharks, Whales and Porpoises drew in the tourists and the project borrowed a little literary respectability, having among its founders, Ilya Tolstoy (grandson of the great Leo and pioneer of underwater photography). Linen postcards offer the perfect medium for recording these sub-aquatic theatricals in which a changing cast of sea creatures swim around in the company of clumsy Marineland employees encased in diving suits constructed in an age of heavy engineering. I like these cards for their slow motion compositions and persistent air of absurdity – one or two of them could easily be taken for pieces of Performance Art. Follow this link to see what Florida offers today’s visitor – it’s an impressive range of implausible curiosities from which it’s difficult to select the most compelling but I wouldn’t want to miss the Atheist Monument, the Lowest State High Point in the US and the Garbage Truck Museum. 

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