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Multimedia Installation art project addresses the disappearance of coral reefs.

I’m raising funds to complete this project. Your financial support is greatly appreciated! Thanks!

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My name: Paul Hunt

Who am I? An artist, a painter, open water swimmer, and scuba diver in New York City.

What I'm doing: A multimedia installation art project that addresses the disappearance of coral reefs due to human pollution, and promote appreciation for the oceans.

Why? Coral reefs are dying from pollution. The devastation is going unnoticed because it's occurring under the sea, out of sight. Since 1980, more than 30% of all the coral reefs in the world, including 50% of the coral reefs in the Caribbean, have vanished.  With statistics like these and having firsthand experience of the devastation, I feel there's an urgent need to share this beautiful landscape before it's gone. Coral reefs take thousands of years to form, however are rapidly disappearing.

What's involved in this project:

  • Research and travel to 22 locations in the Caribbean, the Yucatan Peninsula, and Bermuda. These locations were chosen for their tourist popularity and reef density.
  • Scuba diving: 300 dives.
  • Marine debris collection and removal from the ocean floor, coral reefs and beaches. This marine debris will be repurposed for the art installation.
  • Underwater video footage.
  • Audio recording of underwater sounds.
  • Production of 22 paintings. The paintings will depict a coral reef from the 22 locations within the Caribbean, the Yucatan Peninsula, and Bermuda. Each painting will be 49.23 feet wide by 15" high. Combined, the coral reef painting will total 1083 feet.
This is 9 ft 9 inches out of 49.23 ft painting.
This is 9 ft 9 inches out of 49.23 ft painting.

About coral reefs: Coral reefs are the largest naturally occurring structures on earth and made from hundreds of thousands of tiny invertebrate animals called polyps. They protect towns, ports, and shorelines from rough seas and erosion.  Over a BILLION people worldwide rely on coral reefs in one way or another, either for food, commerce, or tourism.  Coral reefs cover less than 1% of the earths surface yet provide habitat to over 25% of all marine life. They are the foundation of life in the oceans. Coral reefs have also been called the medicine cabinets of the 21st century.  They're the source of new medicines being developed to treat human bacterial and viral infections, cancer, arthritis, and Alzheimer's disease.   

Coral reefs are being destroyed due to many factors, including ocean acidification, ocean warming and coral bleaching, carbon dioxide, water pollution, sedimentation, coastal development, destructive fishing practices, coral mining, careless tourism, and ozone depletion.

INSTALLATION MOCK-UP
INSTALLATION MOCK-UP

Description of art installation: This project is intended to give viewers a visual, auditory, and physical experience of visiting a coral reef in a dry environment.

Visual: Lighting effects, projected video, and coral reef paintings will be used to orchestrate the undersea environment.  Special effects lighting will give the essence of being underwater.  Videos of the ocean's surface from below will be projected on the ceiling. It will include images of garbage patches that are floating across the ocean and the underside of moving vessels such as boats and ships.  The walls will exhibit 22 coral reef paintings, depicting the underwater landscape of 22 locations, in the Caribbean, the Yucatan peninsula and Bermuda.  Each painting is just over 49 feet long, with a combined length of 1083 feet.  

Auditory: Recording of underwater sounds, including animals crackling, ships and boats thundering across the surface, and air bubbles from a scuba diver's regulator will be played throughout the installation.

Physical: Viewers will experience thermoclines and navigate a terrain of marine debris.  A thermocline is an abrupt temperature gradient in a body of water.  When swimming or scuba diving through it, the differences in temperature can be extreme and the experience can be excruciating.  To give the impression of thermoclines in the installation, the air temperature in certain areas will be highly contrasted. The terrain of the installation will be made of marine debris that is collected and removed from beaches, coral reefs, and the ocean floor.  It will be piled in a tile ripple formation, similar to how sand is naturally shaped by ocean currents along the sea floor (see image below).  

Marine debris includes plastic bottles, lost fishing nets, and other non-biodegradable materials that have ended up in the ocean.  The marine debris in this installation represents the ferocious reality that coral reefs are dying from pollution.  Coral reefs are harmless, powerless sea creatures that are experiencing dire consequences from human actions.

Human connection to oceans: We are connected to the ocean. It supplies many benefits, including fresh water, oxygen, food, medicine and energy resources. Humans affect the oceans through fishing, pollution, and building. It is often hard to relate to the destruction of coral reefs and other ocean life because the damage is out of sight, out of mind. The installation will include trash collected from the ocean floor to highlight human impact on marine ecosystems. The debris will represent the complex connection we have with the ocean, and what we need to do to conserve it.

Project objectives:

  • Finish research of 22 locations by May 2014.
  • Complete remaining 830 feet of painting by May 2014.
  • Remove the equivalent of one 40ft shipping container full of marine debris from the ocean floor, coral reefs and beaches.
  • Film underwater video footage for the installation.
  • Release paintings and prepare for project installation by September 2014.
  • First installation art exhibit opening in aquariums and galleries by November 2014.
  • www.reefpaintings.com

Project goals

  • Inspire people to visit the coral reefs depicted in this project.  I believe firsthand experience will allow people to gain a better understanding of how fragile coral reefs are. In turn, they will inspire their friends and relatives to visit.  Please remember, don't touch the coral! :)
  • Encourage others to implement waste materials into another purpose beyond dumping in a landfill or the open ocean. Repurpose.
  • Encourage community action that supports cleaning the oceans.
  • Encourage children to learn how to swim, snorkel, scuba dive and inspire appreciation for life in the oceans.
OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND. CAN YOU SEE THE REEF? CAN YOU SEE IT DYING?
OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND. CAN YOU SEE THE REEF? CAN YOU SEE IT DYING?

Why am I asking for $10,000? Kick starter is ALL OR NOTHING.  $10,000 will not cover the full production costs of this project.  However, a minimum of $10,000 will pay for the production of one (1) section of the installation art project.  The budget includes travel to one location for research, marine debris collection and removal, insurance, administrative costs, diving fees, gear, video and audio recording, still images, one coral reef painting 49.23 feet long by 15 inches high, work space, materials, and other related expenses.

What's the estimated cost to finish the installation art project?  $176,000. A minimum of $176,000 will cover remaining production costs. The budget includes travel to the Caribbean, the Yucatan Peninsula, and Bermuda for research, production of paintings, video, audio recording, still images, work space, materials, insurance, underwater gear, marine debris collection and removal, shipping, crew, and other related expenses.

Will this Installation art project be sold?  Yes. And to help raise funds for this project I'm selling a limited number of the canvases as rewards.  Each painted canvas is 15" X 13".

Are there additional plans for the project?
Yes! Upon completion of the installation art project, I will be developing an ebook, series of internet webisodes, and a documentary film.

  • The ebook (electronic book) will be an interactive representation of the installation art project.
  • The series of internet webisodes will cover the project and coral reefs.  These videos will include the process of removing marine debris from oceans, unseen forces against coral reefs, and the conservation of sea creatures.
  • The documentary film will contain underwater and behind the scenes footage of the installation art project.
Will the Kickstarter campaign fund the additional plans for the project?

No, the Kickstarter campaign will only fund "What's involved in this project" and rewards for the campaign. 

PROJECT PROGRESS REPORT

CONSTRUCTION OF 1000 CANVASES: 100% COMPLETE.

Each tall stack represents one coral reef location.
Each tall stack represents one coral reef location.

CLOSING STATEMENT:   I'm inspired in part by Monet's water lilies, a series of 250 paintings depicting his flower garden. His paintings give viewers a glimpse at life in his garden. When you take the journey along my coral reef installation, you will be given a panoramic glimpse at life under the sea.

The idea of artists going into the field and creating artwork from what they see in the environment is nothing new. I’m following in the footsteps of a well-worn path. The paintings of Thomas Cole, Albert Bierstadt, and Thomas Moran fueled popularity and conservation of the Hudson River Valley and the Grand Canyon National Park.  Gauguin believed that art should have symbolic value. This belief lead him to Tahiti, where his most famous paintings were inspired. Van Gogh wandered endlessly in the countryside of Europe sketching and painting what he saw.  Dale Chihuly went to the south pacific and was inspired by corals and created the sea forms series.  Georgia O’Keefe painted the landscape of the south west.  If you haven’t seen her work in person,  get to a museum now!  Robert Rauschenberg, a American painter, who experimented with various mediums, followed the path through Europe and the US.

THANK YOU!   Many thanks to those who've believed in me and this project from it's inception. This project would not be possible without the generous support and encouragement from people like you. Join me on this journey and help make this project a reality. Please spread the word!

REWARDS

Title: 20 Hours in the Park

Location: Central Park, New York City

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

SEA CREATURES RISK AND CHALLENGES

Challenges:

The main challenges for this project are related to inclement weather or unexpected circumstances. Although sunshine is the most prominent weather feature in the Caribbean, Yucatan Peninsula, and Bermuda, these areas have threats of hurricanes, storms, and other harsh conditions. To get hands-on research for my project, I need to log approximately 300 dives. My project may be delayed if there are any unforeseen health, safety, or environmental issues.

Other challenges include relying on others to make this project possible. I’m not able to do everything myself. I will be hiring a web designer, developer, photographer, public relations expert, attorney, field guides, and an assistant.

Managing Risk:

I’m committed to managing the challenges for this project to the best of my abilities. First, I will be taking precautions to minimize risks related to unforeseen incidents. I believe in the philosophy of safety - no phase of business is more important than personal safety. I will not be diving when conditions are not suitable to do so. Second, I will only work with individuals who are committed to the same purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves accountable. With that said, I feel working with a team with complementary skills will add real value, when it comes to delivering the final product. Team dynamic provides movement and efficiency. By working with others, I will be able to leverage their skills and experiences to make my project successful.

Below is a list of ways that I will be managing risk for this project.

• Purchase “Voyager” Travel Insurance from Divers Alert Network. This plan covers trip cancellation & interruption, baggage & personal effects loss, emergency evacuation & repatriation, medical expense, car rental collision coverage and worldwide travel & medical assistance.

• Purchase “Preferred” Dive Accident Insurance from Divers Alert Network. This plan covers medical, death & dismemberment, permanent & total disability, extra transportation, extra accommodation, lost diving equipment, medical non-dive accident coverage, diving cancellation and diving interruption.

• Check the National Hurricane Center web site to monitor the weather, for current tropical storms and hurricane conditions.

• Hire qualified local dive guides for my expeditions.

• Follow a strict dive plan to prevent bends, a decompression sickness and other hazards.

• Get immunized and vaccinated before traveling, to prevent unforeseen illness.

FAQ

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    Heartfelt thank you!

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    Your name hand printed on my dive tank, a digital photo of the tank at one of the reef locations, plus a big thank you on our website (all backers will receive this)

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    POST CARDS WITH CORAL SILHOUETTE. Box of 6 assorted post cards. Size: 4x5" and back is blank. Printed on recycled stock. Please add $5 for shipping in USA. International shipping costs to be determined by the country it's being delivered to.

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    CORAL SILHOUETTE WOODCUT PRINT ON RECYCLED PAPER 11" x 14". Each print is handmade, autographed and numbered. Please add $5 for shipping in USA. International shipping costs to be determined by the country it's being delivered to.

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    T-SHIRT featuring the projects coral silhouette logo. Screen printed in Brooklyn on an econsious tee. Available in men's pacific blue and women's black. Please specify style and size. Please add $5 for shipping in USA. International shipping costs to be determined by the country it's being delivered to.

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    Help me collect the materials for the installation terrain! Fill one biodegradable garbage bag with marine debris. YOU WILL RECEIVE: your name credited on a thank you list on the website and in the exhibition, indicating that your pledge made possible the collection and removal of the equivalent of one (or more) garbage bag(s) of marine debris. This pledge accomplishes many things: 1. You are facilitating the collection and removal of marine debris and allowing it to be repurposed into useful material. That is something to be proud of. 2. It provides the required material to build the terrain of installation (see photo of Installation mock-up). 3. It encourages communities to come together and work to keep beaches, reefs and oceans free of debris, beyond this project. PLEASE LET ME KNOW HOW MANY BAGS YOU PLEDGED FOR AND I WILL PLACE THE NUMBER NEXT TO YOUR NAME.

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    POSTER. 17" X 41". Image size is 15" x 39" with a one inch white border for framing. PLEASE SPECIFY EITHER A OR B. SHIPPING: Please add $5 for USA. International shipping costs to be determined by the country it's being delivered to.

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    You will receive ONE ORIGINAL ART WORK. THE PAINTED CANVAS IS 15” high by 13” wide. IF YOU WANT TO PURCHASE MORE THAN ONE PLEASE LET ME KNOW ASAP SO I CAN PAIR TWO OR MORE TOGETHER. PLEASE NOTE: these canvases will be used in the installation art project so delivery will be after exhibit ends. However, I can send you a photograph of your painting. And your name will be under the painting during exhibition. SHIPPING: $40 in the USA. International shipping costs to be determined by the country it's being delivered to.

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    Help me collect the materials for the installation terrain! Fill 100 biodegradable garbage bags with marine debris. YOU WILL RECEIVE: your name credited on a thank you list on the website and in the exhibition, indicating that your pledge made possible the collection and removal of the equivalent of one hundred (100) garbage bags of marine debris. This pledge accomplishes many things: 1. You are facilitating the collection and removal of marine debris and allowing it to be repurposed into useful material. That is something to be proud of. 2. It provides the required material to build the terrain of installation (see photo of Installation mock-up). 3. It encourages communities to come together and work to keep beaches, reefs and oceans free of debris, beyond this project.

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    BECOME A PROJECT SPONSOR! Your pledge of $10,000 or more will supply funding for one (1) reef location. For your generous support you or your company will receive: name and/or logo prominently attached as a sponsor to one (1) reef location of your choice (See map of reef locations). You must supply an appropiate digital image that is easily transferable. Your company name and or logo will be attached for the entire life of this project to the location you've chosen, and appear as credits on project website, in ebooks, print books, documentary film, and exhibitions. Here's an example of how your name and / or company may be credited from a past project I did with corporate sponsorship: http://youtu.be/65c75L_Ding

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    COME TO THE REEF WITH ME. If you organize 3 friends to pledge 10K each, I will bring you with me to help spread the word and bear witness to this amazing natural wonder. You will take part in removing marine debris from coral reefs and beaches. You can possibly help the film crew!

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Funding period

- (30 days)