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//:www.colleenflanigan.com      http//:www.capacitor.org
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//:www.globalcoral.org

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