Monday, December 6, 2010

Wild and Scenic Film Festival

Some good news for a small film: "On the Trail with Miss Snail Pail"
Greg Young of Golden Bear Casting contacted me a few years ago in response to a news article. He asked if I was open to him following me around with a camera. Sure, it'll be fun and who knows what will come from it.
It has been selected for the 9th Annual Wild and Scenic Film Festival in Nevada City, California.

Looks like I'll be able to attend:) Have missed the other film festivals where it screened. Found lots of snails in SF this past week; perhaps three different varieties. I was at TEDxAlcatraz=congratulations and thanks to David Gurman, Greg Miller, Eric Berlow, and all the others who orchestrated a great experience! The talks, music, food, and of course connections with people, were inspiring.
Happy glistening trails~

Posted via email from TED Fellows

Friday, November 26, 2010

Gili Trawangan Workshop

I hear it was an amazingly successful workshop in Gili Trawangan, Indonesia last week.  80 people attended and they made 16 new structures. 

there are some great short videos about the work of The Global Coral Reef Alliance and Biorock at this link.

Also, the documentary "Reef Reborn" is now available at

and a photographic and written brochure can be seen at

Posted via email from Biorock Around the Globe

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Food Fight in NY

Dear Friends of FOOD FIGHT,
This message will be short as I am traveling and in the middle of a great new partnership with a group in New York who are helping to bring the message of the film into schools in NYC. Along those lines, we are screening tonight at Teacher's College at Columbia University at Milbank Chapel (525 W 120th St) at 6pm. I will be there to lead a discussion panel afterwards as well as talk about the FOODFIGHT school initiative. We need to get the word out on this important event, so, if you are in the NYC area, please come and let your food-loving friends know about the screening as well.

Chris Taylor

Posted via email from TED Fellows

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Coral alert! Bali kids~

Here is the latest, dire alert about the coral situation:

And a positive note about Pemuteran's Bio-rock center and Bali kids on Earth Day:

Posted via email from Biorock Around the Globe

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Can snail farming save gorillas?

Snails in Africa are big, and now may help save gorillas.

Gulf oil spill

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mission Blue, Earth Day, Oceans

Biorock and Global Coral Reef Alliance news
Shore protection in the Marshall Islands
Interview about mineral accretion with Dr. Tom Goreau, President of GCRA

Picture story of Ocean Project progress

Recently I went to California to work with master blacksmith,

Mark Nichols, aka the Bubblemeister (master bubblesmith as well!)

We began 3 steel sculptural apparatus(es) for the Ocean Project.
He has a 60 ton hydraulic press

Mark and Jodi Lomask holding tight to keep the steel from pulling out of line.
Now I know how to bend schedule 40 steel pipe in smooth undulating curves without crushing them.

Because of the strong force, Mike helps to keep the steel aligned.

Go Beam! It was so much fun to play with all the other artists and makers.

our first "coral skirt" of the coral garden. 

While working at this fabulous metal shop, I was following Mission Blue tweets.
I wanted to join Sylvia Earle's TEDboat to the Galapagos, so this is how I attended. One day I had over 56 tweets in a couple hours.  Serious! I took notes. The ability to be in a very calm, relaxing creative environment while simultaneously "being" on a ship with unending mental stimulation, it blows my mind.  Oh to attach an MRI to my brain to see what is happening with all this constant shifting from internet to phone, making to designing, dancing to...I imagine my neurons are branching out into new tendrils.. so curious what parts light up during different activities. 

After working on the steel performance sculptures,

I went to see the Capacitor dancers in San Francisco experiment with the new toy.
Cari and Ian~

Ian and Marvin~~                                            Mayuko

{If you are in Oakland, California this weekend, you can see them perform on Sunday at the Oakland Museum. They'll be doing "Puncture," an excerpt from"The Perfect Flower," -- work commissioned for TED 2009. }

Leaving San Francisco, I headed south to visit family in Monterey.  Timing was on my side.  The snow storms that had delayed my driving through the Siskiyou pass days earlier opened the road for me to accept an invitation to share about coral restoration with the International School of Monterey, a recent recipient of an Ocean Guardian grant from NOAA.

photo by Camilla Mann

K-8th, these kids go on field trips, have guest presenters, make ocean-inspired art, and learn about many facets of the sea.  They were concerned for corals after seeing scenes of dynamite fishing.  Their "aahs" were audible as they were mesmerized by the colorful animations they saw in the documentary, "Reef Reborn." This link is to a short animation produced by Sea Studios of Monterey and LAIKA, Inc. of Portland.  I showed it to the younger kids.  Not to say it is only for kids..

Before driving back to Portland, I met with Mark Shelley of Sea Studios, slipped into Barbara Block's class at Hopkins Marine Station to catch some of Carl Safina's talk.
I was connecting with brilliant ocean explorers, getting my ocean fix before heading back to the forest-scape of Portland.  Found out Barbara was a speaker on Mission Blue and she worked on Oceans, the movie.

Which brings me to Earth Day.  Watching Oceans, (gorgeous and moving), witnessing how each species is wired, conditioned, and built to behave in specific idiosyncratic ways, I left the theatre thinking about the baby turtles vulnerably flippering over sand to sea against the odds, the warring crabs piling too dense for comfort, the walrus cradling her pup,  the camouflaged, low blood sugar rockfish snarfing the lovely damsels flitting by...Nature is so wild, bizarre and beautifully shocking, and here I go empathizing with and humanizing all those mysterious beings.   I can predict some human behavior, but can't deeply fathom much of it any more than the behavior of a shark, penguin, or a puffer fish.  Isn't it possible there are more sub-species, classes, phyla, orders (helps me scientists) of humans? 

maybe just in folk taxonomy

thank you~

Posted via email from Biorock Around the Globe

Monday, April 5, 2010

Algae food, fuel,...

I saw the algae tanks at Green Man 2007.  After 8 years of invitations and urgings, it was my year to finally get to Burning Man.  The theme, Green Man, was tempting.  I am glad I went.  Here is a story about the man behind the glowing green-filled tubes that I kind of fell in love with-- that beautiful color was alive and mesmerizing.

Posted via email from TED Fellows

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bali Biorock Expedition

After TED Longbeach 2009, I invited Jodi Lomask of Capacitor dance troupe to work with me on a dance, sculpture, science exhibit about the ocean and coral restoration.  She was already beginning to direct her attention towards the ocean; turns out her father, Morton Lomask, had been one of the early Bathyscaphe explorers. We decided go to Bali in December. We would explore Karang Lestari, the world's largest Biorock nursery, in Pemuteran Bay.  How would my memories of the metal reef structures look now?                                                                            
                                                                          Karang Lestari drawing by Wolf Hilbertz

Swimming past the familiar but "mature" forms, I smiled at the obvious growth.  The corals and limestone were hiding the spindly steel skeletons I remembered. Schools of fish wove their way through the sculptural, experimental seascape. Even Liku Liku (Zig Zag) that I quickly made during a previous workshop was disappearing into a colorful mass of spiny, fingerlike projections and polyps.  In this top photo you can see the point is bare.  In the next photos, through the murky visibility, you are looking straight down at the flourishing top.
Liku Liku photo by Wolf Hilbertz 2006

The point is almost touching middle right of photo=> coral camouflage.

Liku Liku photos by Colleen Flanigan 2009

This marine protection zone is in front of Taman Sari resort and a dive shop.  Rani Morrow-Wuigk, partner-owner of the resort, longterm diver and ocean photographer, wanted to save the rubble-rich region from further dynamite fishing and global warming devastation.  With supportive acts and efforts, local and international, this once fish-lonely coral cemetery of a place has recovered some of its vitality, and importantly, has impressed upon the village and beyond a new method for cultivating and protecting endangered resources.  It is a reef garden with large aquatic topiaries reviving the kaleidoscope of life oceanic.

Nautilus photo by Komang Astika 2004                        approx.2 years growth

    Rani (middle) welcomed Jodi and me

        at her tropical paradise for 10 days.

                                                          photo by Komang Astika

We dove, shot footage, choreographed,  welded and brainstormed about how to develop our exhibition. Our multimedia Ocean Project Sensory Immersion (working title) is dependent on merging scientific research and community innovation with artistic response. 

-I designed an underwater "apparatus" Biorock structure that acts as ocean twin to a similar form for our land-based performance/exhibit.

wire model of "coral skirt"

found mechanic so could make a tool for tight bends

Made driving us and the steel parts back to villa



"Coral skirt" before immersed...

this pool was finished the day we arrived!

-We captured footage.

Jodi in the coral skirt           collage by Jodi, footage by Colleen

Komang in the skirt

We did movement studies and underwater choreography sketches. Diving and snorkeling, we were mesmerized by the territorial behaviors and bizarre activities of the array of life forms wordlessly communicating in the interconnected blue atmosphere. Being in a world without words is so intimate.  My conditioned and conscious human needs and desires on land disappeared in this peaceful embrace of water.  Bonded to the other wet-suited ones by our mutual breathing and observing, I knew If I were to slip out of sight, I might float to a dissolving place... I witnessed the patterns and intricacies of day to day life for the organisms down there; their idiosyncratic relationships to pressure, predators, prey, place, and personality.  (5 p's for the seas)
-In addition to research and development for the ocean production, we wanted to know what Rani and the Bio-rock Center needed directly.  Jodi and I planned to bring more dancers, scientists, divers, innovators, activists to participate in a future week-long lab/workshop: an active retreat where participants learn about coral and marine science, Biorock  technology, and renewable energy solutions for this coral restoration enterprise. Complementing this track of inquiry would be the subconscious, emotive lens of dance, sculpture, and free-associative stream of discovery. Culminating from this intensive creative group process would be a performance (underwater? on land?), elements for the touring exhibit, and partners committed to helping Karang Lestari reach its goal of renewable energy by 2015.

One of those partners is Celia Gregory of The Marine Foundation.

selecting a goddess

Celia chose this goddess sculpture as a symbol of nurturance and preservation, a beacon of hope presiding over the corals and marine life at Karang Lestari.

She will be placed on top of this unfolding lotus designed by Celia, fabricated with Komang.  Rani is shifting from battery chargers to all renewable energy for the nursery. With the installation of the lotus, they will be blessing this next step.  For now, the coral goddess awaits the power source.



not quite there...

Another thing about the Bio-rock Center-

Komang Astika is in charge of maintaining the structures and making the names for the Sponsor a Baby Coral Program.

I couldn't make it to Yatin (TED Fellow) and Rashmi's wedding in India,

So I planted baby corals in their honor and invited a fish to celebrate their love.

I invite people to contact me or Jodi about the creative art/sci lab or to express interest in finding venues or partners, sponsors, producers or fabricators for the Ocean Project Sensory Immersion. 
http//      http//
We were asked to be an opening act at Michael Franti's Baliday Bash in Kuta-- synchronized ocean-inspired choreography:)

For more about Biorock and the work of the Global Coral Reef Alliance: http//

Socio-ecological note: The trash along the beach is a shock.  How could my paradise fantasy be denigrated with mylar and miniature plastic packages floating into my mouth and clinging to my mask?  It is an astonishing contrast to snorkel amidst the often-times garbage-filled coastline, then boat half an hour away to one of the most beautiful natural reef walls in the world, Menjangan Island,  part of Bali Barat National Park, a protected reserve area that encompasses much of Bali's little-populated western endI am giving trash its due attention and developing another alter ego to transform my upset into compassionate intervention and interaction.  I have to respond when there is so much at stake.

Posted via email from TED Fellows

Friday, January 22, 2010

natural glue

First, I have recently hatched baby slugs. Eggs were laid while I was purging some collected garden slugs, and voila! my first tiny brood.

I am working with Jodi Lomask of Capacitor ( on an Ocean Project. We recently returned from a creative R&D session in Bali. Finally I was back in Pemuteran, after nearly 6 years, diving among the beautiful corals: those on natural rocks, and those growing on Biorock structures (,
I made another steel structure, a "coral skirt," for Jodi to do underwater choreography and I captured it on video. We were invited to perform at the Michael Franti Baliday Bash in Kuta. Fun! We did a short synchronized movement piece on platforms with just-shot underwater footage on large monitors to the sides.
We are now developing our touring performance, art, sci, action exhibit to inspire healthy relationships with the ocean. In this process, my amazing talented friends are sharing videos about octopuses using coconut shells as shelter, solar-powered slugs, natural glues, bioluminescence. I really want to use biodegradable, non-toxic materials for this exhibit. Obviously, if I don't like pesticides, how am I going to be happy with all the toxic glues and plastics we use in the art industry? If anyone has contacts with medical chemists/scientists, I think that is one way to develop the materials that could also be useful outside of medicine. Another way, rewind to Indigenous knowledge and see what nature taught our ancestors. Learn from all the amazing living species on the land and in the sea.
Here are a few new links I have received.
Makes me think of the algae labs being worked in down in Berkeley CA.

this is from the American Chemical Society
about strong bacteria adhesive
octopus using "tools". coconut for shelter.

trouble attaching links, so I hope you can cut and paste in your search..

Saturday, January 2, 2010


My snail babies were having fun cruising around the snowmen this holiday season.

Happy new Year!! It has been so long, what was I thinking? I have been blogging on the TED Fellows Posterous blog ( and have been traveling in Bali for the past 3 weeks. I am working on a collaborative ocean project with Jodi Lomask of Capacitor ( and we went to Pemuteran, Bali to begin R&D and production for a touring perfomance, art, sci, action production about ocean health, coral restoration, and of course, the creative process. We are planning to return and have a Biorock workshop/Capacitor LAB some time later this year where participants help us develop the production and all of us ask serious and fun questions about green energy, waste management, and global solutions for helping our oceans thrive. Dance and sculpture, diving and innovating in the beautiful land of Bali is the goal as we film and improvise our progress with kids and adults.

I just received this:

arts and entertainment

Enviro film festival in Golden has beguiling, humorous sides
By Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post Film Critic
Posted: 10/30/2009 01:00:00 AM MDT

Over and over again, plastic water bottles make their determined way along conveyor belts. Consider it an industrial-design ballet. It's also blue-capped evidence of a multibillion dollar market.

Even the makers of "Tapped," an intelligent, critical documentary about the bottled-water industry, knew to send a photo. It's an oddly beguiling image.

Directed by Stephanie Soechtig and Jason Lindsey, the opening-night film of the fourth Colorado Environmental Film Festival (Thursday-Saturday in Golden) begins its journey in Maine. Global concern Nestle, the bottler of Poland Spring, Arrowhead and a number of other brands, has quietly purchased groundwater rights. The locals are beginning to simmer.

The common good and a community's interests often seem trumped by business concerns. When Raleigh, N.C., and Atlanta were in the midst of extreme droughts, citizens had to limit water use. Pepsi and Coca Cola kept pumping. (If the Denverites among you do a double-take during Durham city councilman Eugene A. Brown's interview, it's because he's Denver council member Charlie Brown's twin.)

Beside the basic question of who owns the rights to drinking water, "Tapped" addresses the impact of all that plastic on the environment. According to the International Bottled Water Association, Americans bought 29 billion bottles of water in 2007.

Sustainability is a theme throughout the festival, although not always in the ways audiences familiar with the burgeoning genre of enviro-docs might expect.

"That's something we're trying to avoid, becoming a heavy-handed, environmental doomsday festival," says event co-chair Joe Brown. "We want audiences to see interesting things, beautiful things. We're not a festival that's just going to lecture at you."

Aurelio Voltaire's short "X-Mess Detritus" is a macabre meditation on gift-giving that could make Tim Burton proud.

Robert McFalls' "Homegrown" is a portrait of Jules Dervaes and grown children Justin, Anais and Jordanne, who have created a homestead organic farm within vrooming distance of Interstate 210 in California. They are modern-day pioneers — stubborn, mildly eccentric, hardworking — micro-farming their little plot, not on a prairie, but near Pasadena's teeming freeway.

A woman chasing down the common backyard snail is not a feat of speed. But Greg Young's 12-minute "On the Trail With Miss Snail Pail" is intriguing just the same. "No, no, keep them alive," snail-abatement specialist and artist Colleen Flanigan — a.k.a. Miss Snail Pail — tells a potential client over the phone. "Because I'm going to eat them." The film has surreally lovely images of Flanigan's "micro-livestock."

Jeremy Seifert's "Dive!" sounds like an oceanographic adventure. It's not. (For that, see "Gimme a Hug," a Dutch treat about shark behavior.) Instead, "Dive" documents the director and his friends' Dumpster-diving food forages in Los Angeles. Among the markets tossing pounds of still-good food away: Trader Joe's and Whole Foods.

Chances are, Seifert and friends won't convert viewers to a life of plundering plastic bags stuffed with produce just past its sell-by dates. But "Dive!" provides plenty of food for thought about how much we waste.

One could say that the growing festival serves a similar purpose: to entertain, engage and nudge audiences toward awareness.

Film critic Lisa Kennedy: 303-954-1567 or Also on blogs.denverpostcom/madmoviegoer

happy 2010!