Colleen Flanigan is a socio-ecological artist. Through visual, performing, and biological arts, she investigates contemporary issues of species endangerment and ecosystem regeneration, specifically coral reefs. Her work encompasses Living Sea Sculptures, conversation-catalyzing alter egos, participatory multimedia exhibitions, and more.
Mineral accretion reefs can be any shape or size, allowing for original seascaping compositions. Both functional and artistic, they evolve into large aquatic topiary-like ecosystems. Rather than artworks about ecology that derive inspiration from nature and the environment, this is actually art as ecology with vibrant living plants and animals. Low volt DC electricity flowing through seawater raises the pH locally to attract calcium carbonate and magnesium hydroxide minerals to deposit onto a metal matrix; corals readily cement to this natural substrate. They can grow faster and tolerate some environmental stress that normally bleaches or kills them. As more people become aware of the issues of sea level rise, climate change, pollution, and overfishing, it is our time to explore how to resuscitate our ocean biodiversity and protect our shores with interdisciplinary recoralization.