Underwater Sculptures Help Save the World's Oceans

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The movement to preserve the planet with art just got a little bigger thanks to Colleen Flanigan's coral-rescuing Biorocks

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In 2009, underwater sculptor Jason de Caires Taylor—whom I had the pleasure of profiling for Wired UK a long, long time ago—founded MUSA (Museo Subacuático de Arte), the world's first underwater museum and an inspired intersection of art and environmental science. These artworks, admired by over 750,000 visitors every year, are designed to become artificial reefs that provide a unique habitat for the ocean's most fragile and remarkable creatures: corals, and their many marine companions.

This year, artist and TED fellow Colleen Flanigan was invited to join the project with some of her Biorock designs. As the temperature and acidity of the world's oceans continue to rise under the effects of global warming, these new sculptures offer corals a vital alkaline environment: using a low-voltage electrical current, the installations raise the pH of seawater to attract limestone minerals, which adhere to the metal matrix and help corals get the calcium carbonate they need to build their exoskeletons. So Colleen is gathering the necessary arsenal—welding equipment, metal, supplies, power sources, boat rentals, SCUBA tanks—and hiring a professional filmmaker to capture the incredible journey. And she's funding it on Kickstarter, my favorite platform for microfunding creative projects.



"Corals are near the root of the family tree of all living animals. Humans have put these ancestors on the evolutionary tree in peril. We want to give coral back its color through life-supporting underwater Biorock formations." ~ Colleen Flanigan

The project embodies our highest ideals, a beautiful cross-pollination of art, science, and moral imagination, so please join me in supporting it--it's the best-intentioned $10 (or $100, or $1000) you'll spend today, I promise.


This post also appears on Brain Pickings.
Image: Ho New/Reuters

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Maria Popova is the editor of Brain Pickings. She writes for Wired UK and GOOD, and is an MIT Futures of Entertainment Fellow.

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