Into the Great Dying: Waters We Share

A site specific interactive installation that addresses  climate change, coral bleaching and plastic pollution at the Faena Art Project Room in Miami. The installation brings to light the beauty, fragility and destruction of Florida's coral reef ecosystem and invites the public to immerse themselves inside a "dry" ocean floor that is filled with everyday trash elements. Accompanied by a  mesmerizing soundscape, created by artist Brett Olivieri, the work is an invitation to reflect on the impact we have on the ocean's health. 

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Interview with Nora Walsh for Faena Art

Blending Art and Science

"Into the Great Dying: Waters We Share,” the latest site-specific installation at Faena Art’s Project Room from Brazilian environmental artist Beatriz Chachamovits, immerses viewers in the beauty, fragility and destruction of the ocean’s coral reefs. “I want people to be aware that the choices they make as individuals and the way we behave as a society influences the health of the ocean no matter where they are because we’re all connected through water,” she said.

Chachamovits’ acclaimed body of work is a response to extensive scientific research to understand the underwater world and the problematic phenomena caused by rising water temperatures, ocean acidification and plastic pollution. “After I do deep dives into scientific studies, talk to specialists and observe the corals first-hand, I create works that communicate what’s really happening inside of the ocean,” explains the artist. “For example, the majority of my sculptures are white. This happened when I understood the significance of coral bleaching and its devastating repercussions.” Climate change has been identified as the leading cause of coral bleaching and once corals die, entire reef systems and all the wildlife they support become endangered.  

The exhibition, which took more than a year to complete, features 17 coral structures made entirely by hand using a ceramic technique called handbuilding. A small piece takes around five days to build, while larger sculptures typically take more than two weeks due to the level of detailing. “My goal is to create the feeling corals elicit by portraying the vast array of species, textures and shapes that exist in a reef.”

To encourage viewers to become aware and reflect on the reality that how they walk on the earth impacts reef ecosystems, Chachamovits covered the exhibition floor with slabs of unfired clay hidden under a blanket of sand. As guests move closer to each sculpture, they’ll feel the clay crush beneath their feet. “When you invite the public to interact with the artwork, it becomes more deeply imprinted in their memory and hopefully stays with them long after they’ve left the exhibition,” explains Chachamovits. “My aim is that once people are back in the natural world, they’ll be more cognizant of how their behavior might be harmful to the environment and inspire action to care for the oceans and coral reefs, and consequentially, the whole planet.”

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The installation was featured in Faena Hotel's Journal on April's issue as the back cover and an article on the exhibit:

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The choice to have the opening reception on April 22nd, Earth Day, highlights the plight of the coral reefs as an important aspect of climate change and adds to the overall context and narrative of the exhibition.

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