"Oceans Unravelled" - June 2009

“Oceans Unraveled”

The Chicago Coral Reef

A collaborative installation by Aviva Alter, Mary Buczek, Mary Ellen Croteau, Jessica Stapp and Amber Reyes

“Oceans Unraveled” is a woven testament to both the beauty of the reefs and to the fact that the amount of plastic and waste we are putting into the ocean (along with global warming) is threatening the coral reef system at an ever growing rate.  By using an ever-repeating crochet stitch, yarn and plastic are brought together to re-create this natural wonder.

This exhibit is a response by artists to the fact that 30% of The Great Barrier Reef is dead. It is estimated that 70% of all coral reefs around the world could perish by 2050.  The coral reefs are vanishing even more quickly than the tropical rainforests, and along with them the food chain that sustains us.

Under the current environmental stress corals ‘bleach’, they release algae, their source of food, and starve to death. The once colorful and vibrant world of crenulated living coral becomes white and lifeless. Forms that began growing over 50 million years ago are becoming extinct.  It is now up to all of us to participate in stopping this destruction of our oceans and our planet.

Oceans Unraveled is a sister reef of The Hyperbolic Coral Reef Project created by Margaret and Christine Wertheim of the Institute For Figuring (www.theiff.org.)  ‘What began as a tiny seed in the Wertheims living room has morphed organically into a worldwide movement;’ with exhibitions in New York, LA, Chicago, Flagstaff and London..