An aesthetics of resilience: design and agency in contemporary coral restoration

Authors: Rennie Meyers*, University of Rhode Island Marine Affairs
Topics: Anthropocene, Coastal and Marine, Cultural Geography
Keywords: coral, resilience, sculpture, performativty, new materialism
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Marshall North, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


How does coral help communities perform resilience? In this presentation I will situate current coral restoration and conservation practices within visual cultures of resilient design. Underwater sculpture installations in Thailand, Mexico, and the Canary Islands illustrate how this resilience aesthetic relies on the material contingencies of coral acting as animal, vegetable, and mineral simultaneously. Underwater Sculptures leverage the visual and ecological significance of coral in the Anthropocene to display, though not necessarily enact, resilience while altering coastal geographies. Through ethnography, participant observation, and photojournalism, this project illustrates the ways in which coral and artificial reefs are made to perform resilience through aesthetics, tourism, and development policy.

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