Art That Makes You Think…It’s Getting Hot in Herre

Image by Jason deCaires Taylor

This Sculpture Takes the Great Barrier Reef’s Temperature

I know right now we’re consumed with fighting for racial justice during a global pandemic AND crippling economic recession/depression – and that’s absolutely where our priorities should be. However, there’s a big, back it up, dump truck booty BUT coming, and that ass is the climate crisis (ass). Unfortunately, the human brain has a problem with diffuse, looming problems with long time-scales, so if you’re not dialed in to environmentalism already, it’s tough to keep climate change top of mind.

If you’re struggling with that, don’t worry, Jason deCaires Taylor has got you. deCaires Taylor is the artist behind Ocean Siren, the statue rising above the waves outside Townsville in Queensland, Australia that functions as a clear visual indicator of the changing climate. Connected to a thermometer at the Great Barrier Reef 60 miles away, Ocean Siren changes color based on water temperatures, from deep blue to deep red based on how far below or above average temperature the reef is at the moment.

It gets oh so radder. Ocean Siren is modeled after a local woman of the indigenous Wulgurukaba people (Australia has about the same record with indigenous peoples as the US – awful – so that’s super dope). The sculpture is also part of the larger Museum of Underwater Art (and the only piece not submerged). The museum’s second piece, the Coral Greenhouse, fuses art and function as well. Seeding the concrete and steel structure with coral colonies ensures that it will become its own reef in time. More art installations / artificial reefs are planned for the Queensland coast as well.

Above average water temperatures are THE top cause of reef bleaching and death, meanwhile the Great Barrier Reef just this past April faced its third mass bleaching event in five years. Yikes. We need to get more people on board with climate change if we’re gonna have a hope of making it right. Here’s to Ocean Siren doing just that.

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