Exodus: coral bleaching and heat stress [portfolio]

Glade-Wright, Robyn. (2014) Exodus: coral bleaching and heat stress [portfolio]. [NTRO Portfolio]

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This is a portfolio of works from the Exodus: Coral Bleaching and Heat Stress exhibition held at KickArts Contemporary Arts, Cairns, QLD, Australia, 12 May - 21 June 2014.

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Exodus is an exhibition of works of art produced in response to the loss of life and resultant coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef. The title Exodus refers to the loss of millions of tiny algae that once lived in a symbiotic relationship with the coral. Coral bleaching occurs in silence and mainly out of sight. Exodus aims to make the unseen visible and to highlight the dramatic loss of life. When beauty of the world is lost, in this case, due to bleaching, the opportunity for meaningful relationships with other living entities is diminished. The exhibition seeks to generate understanding about the human impact on the reef and to investigate the possibility that that people might prevent further losses from occurring on our watch.

Research Statement

Research Background The Great Barrier Reef has lost fifty-seven percent of its coral cover in the past three decades leading critics and practitioners to wonder about how to mitigate the demise (De´ath et al. 2012). Exodus draws on theories of aesthetic cognitivism (Graham 2005), climate communication (Cohen 2016, Hulme 2015, Moser 2017), ecological science (Pimm & Raven, 2017) and the eco-sublime (Palmer 2014) to consider the question of how to envisage ecological change in the tropics. Its component works test the potential for art to communicate environmental crisis in sensuous and emotive forms, and to draw attention to impacts of climate change in order to encourage behavioural change.
Research Contribution Exodus visually represents a habitat of destruction that might otherwise be out of sight for many people. Using a long boat of dead coral that is silently being ferried away, all the while casting softly moving shadows, is a strategy used to encourage audiences to reflect on the changing environment, and how this change has impacted on the survival of coral species. The six digital images reinforce the hand that people have played in effecting these changes, presenting a horrid reality in a beautiful form that raises question about the fragility and management of our small planet.
Research Significance This work makes a significant contribution to the growing genre of climate change art (Huang, Muller, Mattingly, Yoldas et al.). In addition to 600 exhibition attendances at the KickArts Contemporary Art Space, the exhibition catalogue has been downloaded over 260 times from the university’s repository. The making of Exodus was also the subject of two scholarly publications authored by the artist: ‘An unbearable beauty: the call of beauty and the sublime’ and ‘Uncertain futures and tidelines: creative vision, ecology and the tropics’.
Item ID: 52551
Item Type: NTRO Portfolio
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Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2018 01:33
FoR Codes: 19 STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 1905 Visual Arts and Crafts > 190502 Fine Arts (incl Sculpture and Painting) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9501 Arts and Leisure > 950104 The Creative Arts (incl. Graphics and Craft) @ 100%
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