Sculptor Mara G. Haseltine on coral reefs, biomimicry and eco art:
“As an artist and environmentalist who has experience with alternative, environmentally sound reef substrates I am profoundly excited to use REEF LIFE for my upcoming underwater artwork “Radiolarian Reef”, based on a microscopic skeleton of a plankton. The master unit will be digitally milled and then cast and pieced together like a puzzle, because the combination of biocompatible, surfaces composed of calcium carbonates, and customized textures for optimal coral growth make REEF LIFE substrates the ultimate alternative to Portland Cement.”
This structure is the skeleton of a radiolarian which encases plankton. Plankton in our oceans and fresh water bodies creates over half the oxygen on our planet and sequester carbon dioxide.
These elegant structures are eroding and mutating due to ocean acidification. This model depicts the plans for a reef structure which would act as a teaching tool about the importance of these microscopic structures as well as become a home for coral and the aquatic life that depends on healthy reefs.
Made with Reef Life Mineral Substrates http://www.reefliferestoration.com/marine-growth-cell-matrix and lightly electrified using Biorock technology, the Radiolarian reef is a hybrid structure which has beneficial impact for the marine environment.
Artist Mara Haseltine in the film INVISIBLE OCEAN: Plankton & Plastic
The film follows Environmental Artist Mara G. Haseltine, as she joins a two-year mission to study the health of the oceans, Haseltine made a grim discovery while gathering samples of from various parts of the world.
“As I collected more and more plankton samples, I found tiny shreds of plastic in all of them, no matter how remote the location was,” says Haseltine in the film. “Ocean and Seas that looked completely pristine actually had plastic in them.” Haseltine’s finding prompted her to build a sculpture that shows the profound effect of the microscopic ocean world on all of Earth’s lifeforms.
“It may not be the visible plastic pieces that are the most worrisome but the tiny plastic particles like fibers, from a shirt that you wash that may be the most worrisome,” said Christian Sardet, a French cell and molecular biologist who . “Because these particles might get into the tissues of the planktonic organisms, fish and, eventually, in our tissues. We really don’t know much about this danger.”
"Transcriptease" Shown Right: TRANSCRIPTEASE (2007) is
New York City’s First Solar Powered Oyster Reef, a living art work,
An avid activist and environmentalist, Haseltine has crafted large sculptural works depicting marvels of chemistry and microbiology, from an enormous rendering of the birth of a protein to a bronze sculpture of the SARS Protease Inhibitor which stands in front of the Singapore lab where the inhibitor was discovered. These works are glimpses into what science looks like, but lately Haseltine's work has actually begun to blend with science experiments, leaving its own unique imprint on science and the natural landscape, and in some cases even attempting to improve on nature's work. In June 2007 she unveiled a solar powered coral reef, in New York City's McNeil Park, and she is now working to see how the reef can interact with oysters and other marine life. Another project under construction actually mimics the gills of an oyster, filtering toxins from the water.
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