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How many of you have heard of Amphitrite, goddess of the sea?
Have you heard of Poseidon, my husband? (Laughter)
He gets around –
I didn't want to marry him but he kept sending his dolphins after me,
and finally, I said, "Fine, I'll marry you,
on the condition that we clean up our house, it's a mess!"
All the rubble from dynamite fishing and deep sea trawling,
corals bleaching from climate change, pollution, disease.
Corals are not only majestically beautiful but incredibly functional,
providing habitat for more than 25% of marine species
and protecting shores from erosion.
By running low volt direct current through sea water,
limestone minerals deposit on a metal.
And the resulting surface is a natural substrate
for corals to settle upon and colonize.
Architect professor Wolf Hilbertz invented Biorock as a building material,
and he teamed up with Dr. Tom Goreau, President of the Global Coral Reef Alliance,
to develop coral restoration
and sustainable fishing practices in aquaculture.
In 2003, I'm sitting in the audience of a sustainable architecture conference
and I saw this –
Oh my God, I was so moved, I had an epiphany.
I looked down, I was wearing my two ocean rings
– one with cast barnacles and fish,
the other has ceramic bits I found in Glass Beach.
I realized that everything I was doing at the time
was somehow a reflection of the Biorock process.
I was spinning dog, cat and human hair into yarn
and accreting it onto chicken wire forms
for this installation about human relationships with natural resources.
This is an electroformed copper cauliflower,
electroformed copper seedpods and hammered raised copper vessel,
these are cast silver dogwood blossoms.
I was freezing nature into metal,
and now I saw I could use metal to grow life.
This is thousands of kids weaving fabric,
basically hiding the weaving wall sculpture I made beneath.
The Randall Museum asked me to make a replica
of this Beniamino Bufano Cat,
so kids could weave wire to flush out its form like these previous pieces.
So, I had to do this – I learned to scuba,
I went to Pemuteran, Bali – home of Karang Lestari,
it's the largest coral nursery in the world.
And I took a Biorock workshop with Wolf Hilbertz and Tom Goreau.
This a model –
this is one of the sculptures –
we did a lot of welding at night when it was cooler,
and by day we would attach coral fragments with wires and pliers.
Here is a progression of Liku Liku.
The electrolysis creates an alkaline buffer zone around the structure,
so corals can grow 2-6 times faster,
less energy goes to the skeleton production,
and they can withstand increased temperatures that normally kill them.
After 6 years, I returned and Liku Liku is overgrown.
The sculptures can be any size or shape,
from this small coral skirt to this large dome,
to reefs miles long.
If we can build the super highway, why not a super reef.
The process can be applied to –
or it's actually very beneficial to oysters, mussels, sea-grasses –
and it can be applied to artistic boat moorings
and living ocean mausoleums,
that attract fish, snorkelers and photographers.
This past summer, I worked with an amazing team
to make a sculpture for MUSA, the underwater museum
in the National Marine Park in Cancún.
And this is the work of Jason deCaires Taylor,
he's the director and curator.
Here are some of the designs I submitted –
I was trying to incorporate some castings with metal and –
we landed on DNA –
While working on the model
I was contemplating content, composition and function,
and I was also thinking of how humans and corals
actually share very similar immunity genetics.
So depending on your interpretation,
the helices can be dividing or coming together.
The sculpture's in Mexico now awaiting some final paperwork and funds,
so that we can return as soon as possible,
and put it out there and plant it with coral.
In the meantime, I'm working with *** Wood at Sea Horse Aquarium & Supply in Portland.
We're doing some experiments in closed systems,
and through my artistic lens, I'm learning a lot
about coral biology, electrolysis and chemistry
in a very tactile, intimate way.
We need creativity, calcium and courage to revive corals,
and to prevent them from bleaching and dying.
And when you imagine life support in the ocean,
it doesn't have to be industrial and sterile.
It can be provocative, experimental and inviting,
and if the corals collaborate and play their part,