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A welded steel matrix, like DNA, will be electrified to build an ongoing calciferous collaboration with marine organisms in Cancun.
A welded steel matrix, like DNA, will be electrified to build an ongoing calciferous collaboration with marine organisms in Cancun.
A welded steel matrix, like DNA, will be electrified to build an ongoing calciferous collaboration with marine organisms in Cancun.
257 backers pledged $16,331 to help bring this project to life.

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Watch it Grow - Happy Chinese New Year

Welcome the Year of the Horse! 

A big year for travel, and all you oxes working so hard in 2014, it will pay off.  Watch out, Rats, not to get under any hooves.   And as a Pig myself, I'm glad I didn't know 2013 was supposed to be horrible for me because it was great in so many ways.

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Here's the final little animation.  If you want to share it directly, here's the link.

Tuesday, January 28th, was TEDxSpence, a youth event in Manhattan.  An inspiring day of talks and workshops with super girls at the school.  Below is the 3rd version of Reef re-FORMed in New York.  I wanted to capture the improvisational sculptural installation, so tried low-tech time-lapse for the first time with iStopMotion on an iPad.  The 7-9th graders opted for 6 second intervals.  Here's what happened in a couple hours~

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Can also be watched here with music on YouTube; a little rhythm goes a long way.

News about Mexico is getting exciting. Logistics are landing. Stay tuned!

Gracias, Colleen and the Living Sea Sculpture team

If you are not yet following Living Sea Sculpture on facebook, please do. The Living Sea Sculpture blog is here. And we continue to share news and receive any size donation through razoo.

Webcameras in 2014

Happy New Year, dear Kickstarter backers!!  We are now 14.  That odd pubescent year of the sophomore.

News- We received sponsorship to add webcams to the sculpture in Cancun. Thrilling!!

We plan to install a tilt/pan/zoom camera and a static, wide angle camera so that people can watch the coral refuge evolve from anywhere in the world. Are you wondering: "Is a coralcam more interesting than a surveillance camera at the mini mart?" Hell Yes!

We love that we'll being able to bring livestreaming video and still photos of the Living Sea Sculpture to those of you who will never snorkel in Punta Nizuc. We're dreaming of how to add interactive online aspects, and how to incorporate footage and feeds into a multimedia installation… but first, our team is developing how to provide a crisp, beautiful image streaming globally.

This is the beginning of an exciting partnership with Jennifer Indovina and her company, Tenrehte

What about the permit?! Do I have an overabundance of patience? (I'm going to keep calling it persistence.)  It has been revised by both the government and Club Med since I visited Cancun in October. That's good news. It's a holiday there now, so I will be calling the government (CONANP) lawyer on January 7th to welcome him back to his office, aka "inquire about the permit."

Some of you know I have worked as a freelance armaturist, maker of posable puppet skeletons, for stop-motion animation. Well, since we are ALL ready to see corals colonizing on this DNA sculpture, I made a short stop-motion on Christmas to wish you health, happiness, and coral cultivation in 2014. Just as I was about to share it now, a super friend and musician, Usman Riaz, offered to create sound or music for it…Stay-tuned for it later this month!

Again and always, thank you for your continuing support and good wishes to see this coral refuge come to life.  The delay has allowed for some new partnerships to emerge, and every day I consider what is in my control, what actions can I take to get this steel in seawater.  Strong partnerships and an incredible team is what this project takes, so that is my focus in 2014.

If you are not yet following Living Sea Sculpture on facebook, please do.
The Living Sea Sculpture blog is here.  And we continue to share news and receive any size donation through razoo.

Cheers to you, dreams coming true, and vitality! Colleen

Obstacles MELTING


It was perfect weather with calm, fluid progress. So happy to say!

Fernando Orozco, the lawyer for CONANP (National Commission of Natural Protected Areas) committed to having a revised draft by October 29th during my meeting with him, Jaime Gonzales, Marine Park Director for SEMARNAT (Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources), and the lawyer for Club Med (on the phone).  Fernando is on video declaring his promise.  Sounds serious (it is!) but we were all in good spirits moving forward.

 Jaime's badass notebook clearly played a role in busting through the barriers.

Something I could not have planned if I tried was the coinciding visit of Club Med's Director of Operations for Latin America.  We had two meetings and were able to clear any concerns in person about installation once and for all. CHEERS!!  Again, I have video of him delineating how he imagines what we imagined--the cables and the installation over the Federal Zone that has been conceded to Club Med.  He is one of two people in the world who can sign the contracts for Club Med, and it is rare that he is on location there. Lucky!

It really was joyful to see the light in everyone's face when whatever it was that was causing worry lifted.  Whether it was "How will the cable go? Who will sue who?..." being there, watching the tension melt when people focused on asking the right questions and facing the answers that were there ALL along, was danceworthy.  Any blocks that may have still lingered in me subconsciously were collaboratively dissolved. (I did dance on the beach to celebrate on my last night under the full moon).

David Dobbs' book, Reef Madness: Charles Darwin, Alexander Agassiz, and the Meaning of Coral, 2005, was my excellent travel companion.  It mentions the ice age and glaciers quite a bit, which is echoed in recent emails and conversations about this contractual experience.

"Great! Congratulations on unjamming the glacier!"- Dr. Tom Goreau, President Global Coral Reef Alliance

"Hope the trip has worked out. Governments can move glacially at times, maybe all the time!"- Bill Harnisch

Don't be afraid of the rust!  It will all be grown over with limestone, corals, marine organisms once electrified in the ocean.  It was in good shape under a tarp.

The MUSA visitor center is now open in the Kukulcan Mall.  They've done a beautiful job.

This little boy in time-out is contemplating corals growing

Seems like some kind of tribunal.

 Whole lots of praying for installation going on!

 Can't wait!


Cancun TODAY!


or tomorrow, depending when you read this.

I fly out Sunday to meet with everyone and visit the sculpture to move things forward in person.

When I received a draft of the contract from Club Med, I thought we were going to be able to install this summer.  But government revisions are required and...

I will keep you posted!  

World Maker Faire NYC, Sept. 2013
World Maker Faire NYC, Sept. 2013
"I Love Coral because______" inspired by Candy Chang's "Before I Die________" project.
"I Love Coral because______" inspired by Candy Chang's "Before I Die________" project.

 Maybe you love coral because "they are mansions for fish," too.

NOAA Seminar: June 6 Invitation

You're invited!

Next week please join for a live seminar with NOAA. 

Art as Ecology- Coral Collaborations will be a 1 hour presentation and conversation with NOAA. 

Seminar Sponsors: The NOS Science Seminar Series and OCRM’s Coral Reef Conservation Program

When: 12-1 PM EDT

Where: NOAA, SSMC-4, Room 10153, 1305 East-West Hwy, Silver Spring, MD 20910

To participate remotely, you must connect via the phone and internet:1) Dial toll-free (U.S.) 1-877-708-1667. When prompted enter passcode 7028688# 
Please use your phone’s mute button (*6 toggles on or off) during the presentation until you are ready to ask questions.  The phone conference does not start until about five minutes before the seminar.

2) To access the webex meeting, go the to the webcast site at
Enter meeting number 744925156 if needed; no passcode is required. Enter other required fields – First and last name.
Check the box indicating that you have read the Privacy Policy, and click Proceed.

To access the sound of the presentation, you must dial in using the instructions in #1, above.

Questions? Contact Tracy Gill (, up to 11:15 before the seminar, or if it is within 10 minutes of the seminar start, call the toll free number above, enter the passcode and she will try to answer your questions.

NOS Seminar Remote Access info:

more questions: or

Abtsract: By running low volt direct current through seawater, limestone minerals in the ocean deposit onto metal, becoming a natural substrate for corals to settle upon and colonize.  Any shape or size is possible to create permeable breakwaters, coral habitat, biodiverse ecosystems.  In regions devastated by dynamite fishing, reckless development, and other human impacts, we can use art and science together to regenerate reefs.  Colleen will share her experience with the Global Coral Reef Alliance's Biorock® mineral accretion method to collaborate with endangered corals, and her vision to highlight this underwater technology through a multimedia interactive exhibit on-land.  Data sensors, audio, video, kinetic sculptures and an iron lung will work together to correlate human health with coral health in Respire: The Coral Corollary

About the Speaker: Colleen Flanigan relocated from the West Coast to New York this year. She has a BA in Design from UCLA and a post-bacc degree in Metals from the Oregon College of Art and Craft.  In 2009 she was selected a TED Fellow for her work with coral restoration and stop-motion animation. TED likes polymaths, and Colleen has been synthesizing materials, processes and concepts through her hands-on tactile approach to creative expression. Natural resources, curiously seeking a sense of balance in action, motivate her current pursuit to help heal and understand dying corals and their ecosystems. While investigating intersections between many disciplines, she seeks new avenues for humans and other species to share the Earth.  

Over the past few years as a TED Senior Fellow (2010-2012), her ocean work has notably shifted to blur lines between art and science; she's currently seeking collaborations with diverse partners to foster non-traditional unions capable of serving the world.