I didn’t plan to write about brain waves. I started out with curiosity around the impact human noise has on marine life.
As an artist, the sea is a great teacher to me. It shows me that change is constant and that there are no rules. In the winter the sea has helped me become more resilient to the cold, more resilient to change and accepting ‘what is’. During the summer months, when the colours have completely changed, the sea provides me with a completely different environment, one where I can relax and slow down.
The sea is governed by the forces of nature, and the beautiful sea also attracts tourism. People are naturally drawn to water, and people are drawn to water for various reasons. But is there something subconscious going on in us?
Science shows that there is an increased amount of negative ions in any natural environment. These ions are formed by the presence of water, sunlight and air. Negative ions are believed to enhance alpha brain waves, which can make us feel good. Being drawn or attracted to water might feel like an unconscious desire, but our brains seem naturally wired to go there and enjoy it.
During my research to understand more about brain waves, in particular alpha waves, I discovered that there are five main waves, or bandwidths, that take place within the brain. Alpha waves are associated with relaxation and the state of meditation. Recent studies have shown that carrying out activities that increase our alpha waves can reduce depression, increase creativity and also increase our levels of awareness. Simply walking along the beach, an atmosphere containing high amounts of negative ions, can enhance alpha waves.
The English Channel is the busiest shipping lane in the world. Vessels such as ferries, fishing boats, drilling vessels, pleasure boats and cargo ships use these shipping lanes. The sounds created by all of these vessels increase noise levels in the water.
Throughout the summer when the sun is out, crowds are drawn to the water and bands play on the beach and on the pier. The music can be heard high up on the cliffs and around the coastal area. And so the music is in the water too.
Marine life mostly relies on sound to hunt, to mate and to protect itself from predators. Reports suggest that marine life is being increasingly impacted by the noise created by the industrial environment that is our sea. And the lifestyles created by the warm weather add an additional layer of noise when bands are playing at the waters edge.
Underneath the sea, as one might gaze at the calm and inviting water on a warm day, there will be an orchestra of industrial sound playing out, competing with the music of all marine life.