I arrived in Cancun yesterday. Huge thanks to Ross Lysinger for providing US Airways buddy passes to contribute to this project. I was flying out of CA after a great visit with my family, so at this time of year, like to acknowledge their unwavering love and support, and everyone who is with me on this adventure - all of you.
Staying in Puerto Morelos just south of Cancun with Karen Salinas Martínez, friend and art assistant for Jason DeCaires Taylor. This afternoon I'll check out una casita nearby; looking to rent and get settled for the next couple months.
If you're in New York, come by. I'm gallery sitting Tues, Wed, Fri, and Sat. from 12-6 PM. We're on the 6th floor. Please send a message so we can be sure to meet. The artwork ties my underwater ocean projects with urban socio-ecological issues, trash being one of them. There are photos, video from street excursions as TrashTara, sculpture, installation pieces. James Tunick, technologist and owner of the gallery, and I made a prototype of an interactive coral sculpture tied to concepts of breathing using projections, audio, and movement connected to sensors.
I've been going into the streets as TrashTara collecting cigarette butts night and day, having spontaneous conversations with people about recycling them at TerraCycle, the oceans, air...
I'm heading to Mexico late December to complete what you all supported - The Living Sea Sculpture : ZOE. Likely be there through February, maybe longer, to ensure success. Being there makes a big difference. The scientific studies and other plans continue to evolve and expand; it would be amazing if through this art project we're able to impact the sewage water treatment system along the Yucatan as we work to regenerate the coral reefs.
Thanks for your good vibes and hope to see some of you at THE IMC LAB + GALLERY this month!
TrashTara is made possible in part with public funds from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.
I opened my window just as flying over Punta Nizuc, where we intend to install ZOE. Close to the shore by the bit of land jutting towards you in this photo, that's where we're planning. My trip was very productive and the relationships needed to complete this work are growing.
Since I returned, I have worked with coral scientist, Serguei Rico, of Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Puerto Morelos (UNAM) to craft a draft proposing how the university, MUSA, me, the government, and the resort will officially collaborate. I love how it so clearly defines all of our desires and intentions, illuminating how much this project has evolved over the 3 years on land.
Just now I was introduced to Louis Villanueva of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) by Heather Paffe, Associate Vice President of their Oceans department here in New York.
Louis works with shark conservation and Public Policy for EDF. He's based in Mexico City, visits Cancun frequently, and is good friends with the Marine Park and others in the area/government. That's what we need! He offered to help facilitate.
Heading to Cancun Thursday. Time to mark the spot for ZOE's ocean home at Nizuc Resort and Spa. Here's one visitor's view.
From DNA-Dividing at Club Med to ZOE at Nizuc Resort and Spa, transformation is on.
Roberto Diaz of both MUSA and Aquaworld (he's a major doer) has been making things happen, and the government is being towed along with approving grace. Cheers to Roberto!
And big thanks to María Antonia Gonzáles Valeria who I met here in NY at a Genspace event. She went back to Mexico City to see how she could help through her university, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). She introduced me to a recent marine biology graduate focusing on corals in Pueto Morelos, Serguei Rico, who is ready to meet and see how we can work to appropriately appropriate enough coral transplants for installation with his department. This is a big deal in Mexico - making sure we have the approvals since it is in a National Park protected area; corals are only available for projects after hurricanes, damage by boats, and through lab propagation. I look forward to working with Serguei and Jaime, Director of the Marine Park, to ensure ZOE becomes a Living Sea Sculpture with endangered corals colonizing.