Projects: Eric Magrane & Maria Johnson


Bycatch –The Complexities of Shrimp Trawling in the Gulf of California: A collaboration between Maria Johnson and Eric Magrane

Johnson and Magrane in front of Bycatch video installation at University of Arizona Museum of Art, February 2017, courtesy of Maria Johnson and Eric Magrane; photo courtesy of Gina Compitello, University of Arizona Museum of Art

Gavenus, Erika, Johnson, Maria, Magrane, Eric | May 25, 2017

You walk in and find your friend already seated at a bar table near the back of the room. As you approach you note that they have gone ahead and ordered some glasses of wine and beautiful shrimp cocktails. You pull up a stool and prepare to dig in, but notice something unexpected –a large installation on the wall is playing a video. As you watch, you realize the video is showing the process of shrimp trawling in the Gulf of California. The process behind the shrimp so elegantly displayed before you. A process so rarely considered, shared, or depicted –something it has in common with many of our food systems.

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Bycatch: Shovelnose Guitarfish and Pacific Seahorse in A Journal of the Built + Natural Environments

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Shovelnose Guitarfish

Rhinobatos productus

your fins like
             a stratocaster

only quiet, not plugged
             in yet, the amp

then with reverb
             pedals on the boat

deck where you’ll be tossed
             into a basket

maybe it’s better
             than being shoveled

out the hatch
             where the lobos

and pelicanos wait
             though your name

also reminds me
             of picasso

three musicians

this pile of fish
             maybe cubist space

is the best way of approaching it
             this assemblage

on the deck of a boat
             in the gulf of california

where humans take shovels
             like snow shovels clearing a path after a storm

and scrape surplus life out those openings
             at least that is not you

you will be in a basket
             and then onto shore

and maybe into the fish taco
             that I will later order

and I won’t think of your eyes
             eyes with stars for pupils

your soft body
             in my fish-stained

gloves cold hands
             the rhythm of your slow

gestation, more like a bass line
             than lead guitar

or the dumb luck of spatial and temporal overlap
             where you gather

like you’re ready for the nets
             like the nets maybe would be a vacation

from the long maturation

             but the way they drag up everything in their path
             but the way they drag up everything in their path




Pacific Seahorse

Hippocampus ingens

of the boat but in
             a jar, preserved

in formaldehyde
             this one specimen

bleached white and
             is that your front pouch

filled with little replicas
             of yourself, you

the male who carries
             the babies, hundreds

of little horses
             preserved forever

in non-life, deferred
             to another world

we can fathom
             the numbers, up to ninety

percent population
             decline, little replicas

never to emerge
             as we place you back

on the shelf with the many
             other curiosities