From three vantage points at Crystal Crescent beach, participants are invited to hold their phone up to the ocean, in the direction of the Northeast Channel. Through this lens, whimsical and vibrant watercolour paintings of cold water coral appear on the screen as if emerging from the distant ocean. Participants can zoom in on the coral images and marvel at the intricacies of these species, as well as in the details of aqueous paint. The otherwise unseeable coral is brought to life through augmented reality and artistic interpretation.
The three vantage points are described in the “View the Art” section.
For people using wheelchairs, all 3 images are accessible from the the first stop, “Coral #1”, in order to access the locations for Coral #2 and #3, you have to go down a few steps.
Coral Vision is a project that utilizes traditional watercolour painting as well as new technologies in augmented reality to make visible the magic of corals, otherwise hidden to us. The goal of Cold Water Vision is to raise awareness of the threats of ocean warming, acidification and destructive fishing practices, specifically in relation to the significant colonies of seacorn and bubblegum coral found along the Northeast Channel of the Scotian Shelf.
The projects at Crystal Crescent Beach and Clarks Harbour have an Augmented Reality feature that will only work on iPhones. Android users will view a film version of the AR experience.
Megan Fitzgerald (she/her) is an artist originally from Tiohtià:ke (Montreal) and currently based in Kjipuktuk (Halifax). She works within a place-responsive practice to address themes of wonder and resonance, responding to notions of the unseen landscape. Megan received a Diplome des Beaux-Arts from Dawson College in 2012 and a BFA in 2016 from OCAD University, where she studied Art History in Florence, Italy. Since then, she has travelled extensively by foot, partaking in residencies in Spain and the United Kingdom, NGO projects in Vietnam, and art education assignments at various European and Canadian institutions.
Megan is currently an MFA candidate at NSCAD University and is researching natural pigments and painting as an expanded practice. Her work considers fantastical tales, magic and speculative fabulation as productive tools to relate to the world.
In 1996, Ecology Action Centre volunteers with backgrounds in marine science formed the Marine Issues Committee. That same year, in response to local fishermen bringing in chunks of coral they had found in their nets, the committee initiated a research project to gather all available information on deep sea corals from across the globe. It became clear that many researchers were studying cold water corals in relative isolation from each other. The small group put out a call for papers and were amazed to hear back from over 14 countries (by fax!). In 2000, the first International Deep Sea Coral Conference was held in Halifax and began to bridge gaps in knowledge and bring attention to cold water corals. Since then, 7 conferences have been held around the world, and government scientists at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans have recognized the fundamental significance of coral communities and the importance of protecting them to conserve marine biodiversity. This foundational research contributed to successfully protecting several sensitive areas where important corals are found. However, public knowledge of deep-sea corals remains misunderstood, and living at several hundred feet below sea level, they remain largely a mystery. There is a great deal we still do not know about these species.
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