18 July 2022

Alick and Albert honored in Spain, Australia and Italy

From July 7th to 11th: "Alick and Albert" honored in Spain, Australia and Italy

At the beginning of July, the documentary film “Alick and Albert” directed by Douglas Watkin was honored in Spain, Australia and Italy.

The film was screened in Spain and Australia as part of NAIDOC Week, an annual Australian celebration of the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

On July 7, the Embassies of Monaco and Australia in Spain joined forces to organize a screening at the Palacio de Hielo cinema in Madrid, which captivated many guests, including several Ambassadors, representatives of Spanish institutions and economic actors as well as the Consuls of Monaco.

From July 8 to 10, the film was screened in public sessions at the National Maritime Museum in Sydney, which hosted the artist Alick Tipoti as a special guest.

As part of NAIDOC Week, the Australian Consulate General in New Caledonia will host a screening of the film on August 9 at the Tjibaou Cultural Centre in Nouméa.

On July 11, the film was presented during the participation of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco at the opening of the 25th Gran Paradiso Film Festival at the Château d’Aymavilles. This screening was part of the program for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Gran Paradiso National Park, which was created as a result of the numerous exchanges that Prince Albert I had with King Victor-Emmanuel III on his experience of the national parks visited in the United States.

Alick and Albert : the story

The film explores the intersection of art, science and nature through a constructive and respectful exchange between two men, two worlds, two models of society. It questions the diversity of Man’s relationship with Nature in today’s world and transmits a universal message in favour of peace, tolerance and harmony between Humanity and the Ocean.
13 May 2022

Indian Ocean Expedition: two artists in residence.

Indian Ocean Expedition: two artists in residence.

On November 15, 2021, Monaco Explorations launched a call for artist residencies in the context of the next expedition scheduled in the Indian Ocean in October and November 2022. In response to the call, 56 applications from artists from 14 different countries were examined by the Selection Committee convened for this purpose. In February, this committee pre-selected six artists. These six artists were then invited to come and present their project to the Committee on Friday, 6 May, at the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco.

The Committee chose two young creators at the end of these auditions: Elsa Rigot and Rémi Leroy. They will both embark onboard S.A. Agulhas II, alongside the teams of scientists involved in this great adventure.

Deliberation of the Committee on 6 May 2022 at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco. © Michel Dagnino. Oceanographic Institute

The composition of the Selection Committee

The Committee that has participated in the selection process since the launch of the call for residency and led the interviews was composed of the following personalities: Robert CALCAGNO, President of the Committee, Director General of the Oceanographic Institute and Managing Director of Monaco Explorations, Françoise GAMERDINGER, Director of Cultural Affairs, Virginie RAIMBERT, Director of the Heritage Institute, Björn DAHLSTRÖM, Director of the New National Museum of Monaco, Thierry LEVIEZ, Director of the Graduate School of Visual Arts of Monaco, Olivier WENDEN, Vice-President of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, François SIMARD, Secretary of the Advisory Committee of the Indian Ocean Expedition, Bernard REILHAC, Director of Development of the Oceanographic Institute and Gilles BESSERO, Director of Monaco Explorations.


Elise Rigot: Telling the Stories of the Saya de Malha Bank

Elise Rigot is a design artist and researcher based in Toulouse, France. Her work questions the links between natural sciences, engineering sciences, and art, as well as the perception we have of the variety of living beings, and how we could make ourselves more sensitive to them. She uses 3D technologies (3D printing, scanning, VR, X-rays, etc.) for their political and aesthetic power, as well as sound and podcasts. Putting oneself in the place of the living beings around us and adopting their point of view is one of her approaches.

Previous slide
Next slide

On 6 May, Elise Rigot described her artistic project to the Committee © Michel Dagnino. Oceanographic Institute

Previous slide
Next slide

Rémi Leroy shared with the Committee the artistic rendition of his commitment to the environment © Michel Dagnino. Oceanographic Institute.

Rémi Leroy: heading towards an Art-Science dialogue

Is it possible to go beyond words to tell the story of scientific research, too often confined to a hermetic and complex language? How can interdisciplinarity and fieldwork enrich the view of scientists and the public? These reflections constitute the raw material of the projects that Rémi Leroy defends. He tries to unite his different experiences (artist, engineer specialized in renewable energy, teacher) through them. His goal: to contribute to the ecological revolution by creating illustrated stories capable of getting a vast public to conceive other ways of interacting with the environment.

Four other great projects presented on 6 May 2022.

Apart from the two winning candidates, Elise Rigot and Rémi Leroy, four other participating artists were interviewed: Federico Campanale, Elsa Guillaume, Debby Mason, and Toby Wright. All of high quality, the projects were presented with passion and conviction.

Debby Mason lives in Plymouth, England. She specializes in engravings and illustrations of marine life. Her work renders her love of the sea and the amazing life it contains. It is imperative that she shows this beauty and its reality © Michel Dagnino. Oceanographic Institute.

Elsa Guillaume, a visual artist, based in Paris, is also a diver. From drawing to sculpture, through installation and video, she develops plastic research dedicated to the representations of the maritime universe © Michel Dagnino. Oceanographic Institute.

Federico Campanale, the Amsterdam-based photographer and filmmaker, is an artist who explores concepts related to social interactions and natural phenomena. His videos and photo series deal with emotion, temporal dynamics, and memory processes © Michel Dagnino. Oceanographic Institute.

Toby Wright is a painter who lives in Monaco and travels the world with his easel and paintings, searching for exceptional natural sites. He is inspired by the great artists of the past, who pushed the limits of comfort in their quest for beauty. Some in the name of science, others in the name of art, all in the name of humanity © Michel Dagnino. Oceanographic Institute.
Previous slide
Next slide

14 February 2022

“Alick and Albert” Special Jury Award at FIFO 2022

"Alick and Albert" wins a special jury award at the 19th International Oceanian Documentary Film Festival

In competition at the 19th International Oceanian Documentary Film Festival (FIFO) held in Papeete, French Polynesia, from February 5 to 13, 2022, the documentary “Alick and Albert” won a Special Jury Award. For its 2022 edition, the FIFO had selected 12 long-features from the 120 films viewed by the pre-selection committee. Presented to the public at the Maison de la Culture de Tahiti and online on the Festival’s digital platform, the films in competition were submitted to the appreciation of a jury chaired by Emmanuel Kasarhérou, President of Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac (Paris, France).

About the International Oceanic Documentary Film Festival

Born in 2004, the International Oceanian Documentary Film Festival has gradually attracted filmmakers from Oceania and elsewhere. They see it as a great opportunity to take a fresh look at the region through the prism of authenticity and diversity, two key elements of its success. The Festival has thus won over an ever-growing audience, bringing together more than 30,000 spectators in 2020.

9 August 2021

Better protection of marine megafauna through social networks and artificial intelligence

Two digital tools for biodiversity

Scientists from three joint research units (MARBEC, ENTROPIE and LIRMM) have just published a study using the latest technological advances to identify charismatic species of the marine megafauna of New Caledonia: dugongs, turtles and sharks. This work, entitled “Leveraging social media and deep learning to detect rare megafauna in video surveys” and published in the international journal Conservation Biology, is partly the result of the Pelagic research project financed by the Foundation for Research on Biodiversity (FRB) within its Centre for Biodiversity Synthesis and Analysis (Cesab), and is based on the collection of aerial videos financed by the Explorations de Monaco.
Dugong, Dugong Dugon or sea cow © Julien Willem. Wikimedia commons

The rise of artificial intelligence

For several years now, deep learning has been developing in many fields. This form of artificial intelligence applied to pattern recognition has become an essential tool for the automated remote monitoring of animal populations using photographs, videos or even sounds.

The performance and accuracy of species recognition algorithms are dependent on their learning capacity, i.e. the number and variety of images with which researchers are able to feed them. For rare and endangered species, aerial video monitoring programmes are proving very useful for land-based census, as is the case for elephants, and have recently been extended to the marine domain and its surface megafauna, mainly mammals.

Below, a group of dugongs spotted during an aerial reconnaissance. Photos and videos feed into the database.

The marine environment issue

How can deep learning be used for rare marine species such as the dugong, or stealthy species such as sharks, for which few images are available? In New Caledonia, research is currently focused on dugongs, sharks and sea turtles, as they are the subject of specific action and protection plans, at the interface between political, societal, economic and environmental issues.

The acquisition of very large quantities of images to improve the performance of automated recognition algorithms is therefore a major challenge for these species, for which aerial monitoring is still limited and provides only a small number of observations.

Dugong photographed during an aerial reconnaissance © Marbec.

Seaplane used for aerial reconnaissance flights of marine megafauna in New Caledonia © David Mouillot. Marbec

Photo and video recording system used during aerial surveys of marine megafauna in New Caledonia, mounted under the seaplane © David Mouillot. Marbec.

Aerial photo of a sea turtle, indicated by the red arrow. New Caledonia © Marbec

Aerial photo of a manta ray, indicated by the red arrow. New Caledonia © Marbec

Aerial photo of a shark, indicated by the red arrow. New Caledonia © Marbec

Previous slide
Next slide

Board on a survey flight!

Compilation of aerial overflight images over the New Caledonian coasts showing some species of megafauna. These images are shot on board seaplanes or using remote-controlled drones. Good flight !

The contribution of social networks

The originality of the approach presented in this study is to demonstrate the potential of videos available on social networks, as a complement to aerial video monitoring, to optimise and train deep learning models to detect marine megafauna.

Rare or endangered species of marine megafauna are indeed the subject of abundant activity by the general public on social networks. This spontaneous production of images and videos is encouraged by the joint development of ecotourism, inexpensive digital devices such as GoPro cameras or drones, and broadband Internet.

Dugong, Dugong Dugon in open sea © N.Barraque. Monaco Explorations

An unprecedent database

In this study applied to the New Caledonian dugong, the exploitation of these resources has made it possible to build an unprecedented database. Indeed, more than a thousand images from six regions of the world covering the dugong’s range were collected on the web. These images from social networks are of limited value for in situ monitoring, due to the lack of precise geolocation information, but their major interest is to contribute to the constitution of an enriched and solid database for the optimisation of deep learning models and the automated detection of dugongs.

A new and efficient method and a hope for conservation

This method has made it possible to process aerial tracking of dugongs quickly and accurately. Indeed, 80% of the individuals present on the images are successfully detected automatically. It offers a new and powerful way to count and map dugongs and other charismatic marine species in order to better protect them. By combining digital technologies and massive data from social networks, it fits into the broader framework of iEcology: the study of ecological processes using online data generated for other purposes and stored digitally. This study opens up new perspectives for the large-scale spatial monitoring of large marine ecosystems.
Selection of aerial views of dugongs © Marbec
Selection of aerial views of dugongs. New Caledonia © Marbec

Research organizations and partners of this publication