Lynne Clark - The Newt Suit

Podcast Transcript

The Newt Suit

Hi my name is Lynne Clark and I am the Museum Support Officer here at the Maritime Museum and I have chosen to talk about the Newt Suit today as my favourite object. So the Newt Suit is an atmospheric diving suit that was originally designed and built by Phil Newton. It's used on pipelines for ocean drilling and underwater photographic surveys. I've chosen it because every day when I walk through the Museum, it catches my eye. I think its sheer scale and size plays a role in that, but also its bright yellow/orange colour certainly adds a vibrancy that I think makes its presence even more potent. I've also chosen it because it reminds me of the suits which astronauts wear when they travel into space, so for me it's almost other-worldly and reflects the mysteries of space that are also reflected and reinforced in the depths of the ocean. The pincers at the end of each of its arms are certainly almost alien-like and reinforce the analogy with space. I also chose it because it's almost robotic-like, sort of cold and clinical, but at the same time is operated by a living, very real to life person and I find that contrast interesting, reinforcing our ideas of the relationships between man and machine. I also chose it because when I think about the diver in the suit it makes me feel claustrophobic and almost illicit a feeling of fear, but at the same time, the bulbous nature of the suit that's almost clown-like, makes me want to laugh at the same time. And I find that very interesting dichotomy intrigues me. And those were the reasons why I chose the Newt Suit!