Mermaid Short Films

MerMay might be over, but my interest in mermaids continues to thrive as we enter the summer months. As the next part of my “Mermaid-a-Month” series, I thought I’d cover ten of my favorite mermaid short films, music videos, and related cinematographic content. I’ll be giving actual movie recommendations in a later month, since I have many to suggest, but right now, I’m just focusing on short videos:

  1. Kiss of a Siren by NuMe, which earned Best Film at the 2014 International Fashion Film Awards.
  2. Psycho Princess: The Little Mermaid by the Vancouver Film School. It is one of their multiple renditions of popular fairy tales with dark twists.
  3. Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale by Nicola Alexandra, a fan-made movie trailer for the Little Mermaid. 
  4. The Disappearance of a Girl by Phildel. This music video does not actually contain any mermaids but is more mermaid-themed, as many of Phildel’s music videos are.
  5. The Angry Mermaid by Friends of the Earth International, which seeks to raise awareness and promote action regarding climate change and ocean conservation.
  6. Compendium II: The Sirens also by the Vancouver Film School. It is part of a series that is a re-imagining of the classic tale of Odysseus.
  7. Kristen McMenamy: The Little Mermaid by Tim Walker, from his series “Far, Far From Land” for W Magazine, in which supermodel Kristen McMenamy gracefully floats in a human-size fish tank. Walker’s article and photography can be found here
  8. The Little Mermaid, the classic animated short film from 1975 which closely follows the original story by Hans Christian Anderson
  9. The Mermaid Short by Wizz, an CGI Animated short film

  10.  No Ordinary Love by Sade, an iconic music video from 2009 that tells the story of a mermaid in love

If anyone has any others to add, I would love to hear suggestions.

© Obliquity of the Ecliptic

Mermaid Art

We’re halfway through the lovely month of MerMay, and the mermaid art has been abundant. I’ve seen a great variety of styles, like Dylan Bonner‘s Disney-style digital painting:

#mermay day 2! I wanted to make this one totally different from day 1 in terms of feel and color pallet. #mermay2017 #digitalpainting
Salie Chelon‘s pastel glittering graphic:
And Nati‘s mixed-media aquamarine drawing:
These are just a few of the many beautiful pieces I’ve come across. I recommend checking out artists Daniel Kordek, Philia Lina, Lady Shalirin, Jessica Madorran, and Erika Schnellert for more. Searching the #MerMay tag on Instagram and Tumblr never fails either.

While all this new art is refreshing, I’d like to recall some old favorites of mine, which include both classic mermaid paintings and general digital designs worthy of recognition. Obviously, I can’t include all my favorite mermaid art, but I’ll certainly include some of the best.

Cabinet of Curiosities Mermaid by Alexandra V. Bach

fantasyartwatch:
“Cabinet of Curiosities Mermaid by Alexandra V Bach
”

the Siren Song series by Victor Nizovtsev

belaquadros:
“Victor Nizovtsev
”

The Five Sisters by Annie Stegg

megarah-moon:
“  “The Five Sisters” by Annie Stegg
From Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid” ”

Fate by bayardwu

somethingmoresubtle:
“ Fate by bayardwu
”

The Little Mermaid by Itsuko Azuma

c0225849_1572262.jpg

Ariel the mermaid by Andra Hancock

fish-tails-siren-scales:
“ by Andra Hancock
”

Out of Water by Saiful Haque

cinemagorgeous:
“ Out of Water by artist Saiful Haque.
”

La Petite Sirene and the Mermaid Project by Renee Nault

Image result for la petite sirene renee nault

Mermaid Drop by sakimichan

Image result for mermaid sakimichan

Atargatis by Annie Stegg

Image result for Atargatis” - Annie Stegg

Jeune naiade by Paul Émile Chabas

Image result for Paul Émile Chabas (1869-1937) - Jeune naiade

Ulysses and the Sirens by Herbert James Draper

"Ulysses and the Sirens" by Herbert James Draper (1909)

Water nymph by Christian Schloe

Image result for christian schloe art

Mermaid by Charles Murray Padday

Image result for charles murray padday

And finally, Little Mermaid by Mily Knight

Little mermaid by milyKnight

That’s all for now. I always love discovering new art, especially when it involves mermaids, so I’m open to suggestions. Next month, I’ll be giving recommendations for and describing my favorite mermaid short films, so be ready for that.

And I’d like to remind everyone that all the artwork above is not my own and I claim no ownership of it. All rights reserved for the respective artists.

© 2017 Obliquity of the Ecliptic

How To Breathe Underwater Like a Mermaid

In this installment of my “mermaid-a-month” series, I’d like to share an interesting piece of news I recently discovered. I know I promised to cover mermaid art this month, but I decided to save that for May (also known as MerMay—the month in which artists everywhere share their mermaid art online) because it would be more appropriate.

So. What is this bit of news? Well if the title is any indication, it’s how science is slowly but surely actualizing the possibility of being a mermaid.

In this article, it is stated: “Scientists have made a breakthrough that could save patient’s lives and open up the possibilities for underwater exploration.”

Essentially, a tiny micro-particle (roughly 3 micrometers) was created that can be injected into the bloodstream, oxygenating blood without any help from the lungs. These particles contains three to four times more oxygen than human red blood cells, and they can allow humans to live up to 30 minutes without breathing before respiratory failure occurs. Though originally created for medical purposes (to prevent brain damage or organ injury from oxygen deprivation), it also opens the door for military uses or solutions to air pollution.

Or, you know, being a mermaid. There’s also that. Imagine being able to swim in the ocean without breathing for three times as long as a dolphin could. Or sit at the bottom of a pool for half an hour, watching the light dance on the tiles.

And this discovery was several years ago. Recent reports indicate these micro-particles are continually being used to save lives in hospitals and prevent environmental pollution by letting a crew fix underwater damage to oil rigs without scuba equipment. I can only imagine how this will continue to progress as it becomes more well-known.

Also, there appear to be no known negative side effects from it. In this article, they are described as a minuscule capsules of small bubbles of oxygen surrounded by a layer of lipids. Meaning that as long as they are injected in regulated amounts, they are completely harmless.

Now this is much different from perfluorocarbon, a breathable liquid which holds just enough oxygen for us to breathe it in safely for short periods of time. While perfluorocarbon sounds cool, the transition from breathing it in to breathing in actual air can be painful, since your lungs have to push the liquid from them. Which is why it’s (apparently) been used as a torture device, similar to water boarding.

But to focus on the matter at hand…

Perhaps saying “breathing underwater” is misleading, since technically, this advancement in science allows you to simply hold your breath for extended periods of time. But either way, it certainly has a wide range of possibilities, and I would love to experience it myself one day.

© 2017 Obliquity of the Ecliptic

The Mermaid and the Moon

Mermaid-moon

I created it for my digital design class with Photoshop, combining this tattoo design and this picture of the moon. I was inspired by Ted Hughes’s poem “Song,” particularly the first stanza:

O lady, when the tipped cup of the moon blessed you
You became soft fire with a  cloud’s grace;
The difficult stars swam for eyes in your face;
You stood, and your shadow was my place:
You turned, your shadow turned to ice
O my lady

© 2017 Obliquity of the Ecliptic

The History of Mermaids

Though it has been a few weeks since I last updated, I’ve returned to continue my “Mermaid-a-Month” series as promised. In January, I gave an introduction to mermaids by discussing their etymology and various translations of the word in other languages. In this edition, I will (begin to) cover the rich and complex history of the mermaid myth.

I say “begin to” because obviously, as with any aspect of myth and history, it is very multifaceted. Different cultures all have different stories regarding the origin of these mythological figures, and it would take hundreds of thousands of words to cover them all.

Which I will not be doing today. But I will be covering mermaids in other cultures in later months, so don’t be too disappointed.

Anyway, I hope to answer some basic questions about mermaids’ history and also give you a taste for more. I am not a historian or professional in any way, so my knowledge is gathered from various sources with the links provided below.

Where and when did the idea of the mermaid begin?

Well, we can never be completely sure, but according to Seathos, mermaids first appeared as deities in mythology between 700 b.c. to 1000 b.c.  The story of Atargatis, a myth which appeared in Assyria in 1000 b.c., is about a goddess that becomes a mermaid. She was in love with a human shepherd, but she accidentally killed him and then, overcome with despair, she flung herself into the ocean.  She wanted to become a fish, but since she was so beautiful, only her bottom half became fish-like.

Atargatis was worshiped in ancient Assyria first, but was said to be exalted in Rome and Greece. She is known as Derketo in Greek mythology and considered the inspiration for the Greek goddess Aphrodite (who, if you remember, was said to be born of the sea foam).  She is regarded as “Great Mother and Goddess of Fertility of the earth and water”.  The spread of civilization in the ancient East is also attributed to Atargatis, as she is believed to have taught the people social and religious practices. Her involvement with the conservation of fish and water fertility would explain why the ancient goddess was depicted as a mermaid.

Here’s a photo for reference:
Image result for atargatis
(Wow. What a beauty.)
Now technically speaking, the first mer-person wasn’t female. The Mesopotamian god Oannes predates the Syrian mermaid Atargatis by several thousand years. C.J.S. Thompson, a former English curator, said in his book The Mystery and Lore of Monsters, “Traditions concerning creatures half-human and half-fish in form have existed for thousands of years, and the Babylonian deity Era or Oannes, the Fish-god, is represented on seals and in sculpture, as being in this shape over 2,000 years B.C. He is usually depicted as having a bearded head with a crown and a body like a man, but from the waist downwards, he has the shape of a fish covered with scales and a tail.” And apparently, since his human form was beneath his fish form, he could live among men, as well as in the sea, and thus teach mankind about writing, science, and art. Here is a picture of him:
Image result for oannes
Is it true that some ancient civilizations believed humans were descendants of mermaids?

Indeed it is. In some of the Pacific Island legends, it is said that human beings are descended from both mermaids and mermen. Somewhere back in time, their tails somehow disappeared and replaced by legs, and people were magically able to walk on land. Also, the creator god Vatea from Polynesian mythology was usually illustrated as being half-human, half-porpoise, and Japanese folklore features a mermaid called Ningyo.

Were manatees mistaken for mermaids?
Unfortunately, yes. Back in 1493, Christopher Columbus, sailing near the Dominican Republic, was said to see 3 “mermaids” (manatees) and then describe them as “not half as beautiful as they are painted.”

Which would make sense, given that manatees are considered to be sea cows, not beautiful woman of the sea. But Columbus thought America was the Indies, so one shouldn’t always trust his discretion.

Anyway, it’s believed that most mermaid sightings by sailors were actually sightings of manatees, dugongs or Steller’s sea cows (which became extinct by the 1760s due to over-hunting). They look like this:

Image result for steller sea cows

(I guess if you squint, it looks like a really chubby mermaid with no hair and stubby arms)

Note: Let it be known that in European history, mermaids generally meant trouble, especially to fishermen and sailors. Seeing them could mean a terrible storm or ill-fortune was coming, or that you were about to be drowned. This would also explain why mermaids are sometimes believed to be sea witches.

What about sirens?

Sirens deserve a whole month to themselves, so I won’t be going into too much detail now, but if you didn’t know, the original sirens weren’t half-fish at all. They were half-bird and not very appealing, I’m afraid to say. They used their melodious voices to seduce anyone who heard them. They were first mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey.

So there you have it. A brief overview of the history of mermaids. I hope you now feel better informed. Next month, I will be providing some evidence for why mermaids could be real and giving some cases for proof of their existence.

© 2017 Obliquity of the Ecliptic