Coral reefs are one of the most diverse ecosystems on earth and crucial to the environmental health onshore, but might be the first to die out from man-hand. Not only are they providing a home for more than a quarter of all the marine living beings, but as “rainforests of the sea” they contain an important part for the underwater photosynthesis. Due to global warming, aquatic acidification, deep sea fishing, oil platforms, transcontinental undersea cable lines and pollution of the oceans, coral reefs get irreversibly damaged. Coral bleaching is only one of the many symptoms.
For their rescue and support, marine conservationists cultivate reefs artificially, sometimes even create whole marine national parks. Common methods include the usage of synthetic materials like 3d printed metal grids, concrete and plastics, like PVC, which provide the support of growth of corals or just restore and stabilize still existing reefs.
‘coral bank’ displays the cyborg nature of these artificial reefs in visual and auditive forms, as it contains natural recordings as well as artificial created footage, that picks up the structures and attributes of coral colonies. In this way this artwork creates at the same time a naturally familiar and synthetically strange atmosphere.
The title of this multimedia art piece refers to the capitalist meaning behind artificial reefs. As these ecosystems are being targeted by the tourist branch and fishery, their construction provides jobs and revenue. So the question stays unanswered: Will the environmental impact outweigh the economic prosperity?