+ Whal-ight

September 2013

This project is based around the idea of intervention. Whal-ight aims to provocatively intervene in the global issue to commercial whaling. As an advocate for anti-whaling + an adoration for whales, this project I was especially passionate about. 

+ The Facts
The 89 lights represent the 89 countries that signed the International Whaling Commission in 1946 (including Iceland, Norway + Japan) to manage catch limits of whales as many species had become endangered.
In 1982 a complete ban was made on commercial whaling, of which Iceland + Norway rejected. Japan was issued scientific permits to legally capture whales for 'scientific purposes', however the significant number of whales they capture is suspicious + suspected as a front to commercial whaling. 
These three countries are represented by red lights compared with white for the other 86 countries.

+ The Map 
The solid outlines represent the countries that signed the commission in 1946, each containing an acrylic rod. 
The dashed outlines are countries that didn’t sign the commission as they don’t take part in commercial whaling - these are largely inland countries.
The two red panels represent the kill zones of Minke whales (the North Atlantic + North Pacific) as these are the whales predominantly hunted today.

The map was designed + laser-cut on to the New Zealand pine backboard, constructed using mitre joints with a cavity in the back to conceal the electronics. The acrylic rods were individually heated, bent + then secured in place. The red acrylic panels were also laser-cut, designed to sit flush against the surrounding pine.  

The aim of Whal-ight - to be hung on a wall - is that all red lights be replaced with white ones. As an extension of this, the design allows for further changes to be made with white lights being installed within those countries that haven’t signed the commission to show every country as one that rejects commercial whaling; indefinitely.


In March 2014, Japan accepted a court ban to halt whaling