This project uses the power of art and technology to highlight life’s fragility — and its promise.
It is named in honor of Zoe Anderson, a woman who lost her life aged 24 in a tragic accident when carbon monoxide from a mis-installed heater entered her home. There is a memorial video, a memorial page on Facebook, and more about her here.
Zoe in 2010, The year she died.
The name Zoe is a Greek word meaning “life”, and Zoe lived life to the full, famous for her bright colors, her generosity, her laughter, her sparkle. Among other passions, she was a neuroscientist, an artist, a photographer, and a diver. She loved the ocean, and was alarmed by the threats to its health.
After her death, her friends and family raised funds in her memory. One use of those funds was to commission the installation of the sculpture with a tilt, pan, zoom webcam in a location that will allow us all to watch as life slowly returns to populate this remarkable underwater sculpture by artist Colleen Flanigan. This piece is the latest of her coral restoration works. The form was inspired by the twisting DNA molecules that encode all known life, yet the sculpture is more than just a symbol of life, it is designed to actually become alive itself through an innovative method of electrolysis in the sea.
Zoe was killed by carbon monoxide, but its sister molecule is threatening our entire planet. Carbon dioxide is raising the world’s temperature and our oceans are carrying the biggest burden. Across the globe, seawater is becoming less habitable for many species due to rising temperatures, acidification, and pollution. Coral reefs are bleaching and dying rapidly as a result.
The area where this Living Sea Sculpture is sited has been gravely affected by unsustainable development and hurricanes. What was once a gloriously rich coral ecosystem has lost much of its former glory. Perhaps not forever. Local divers and conservationists are working to restore the reefs. This project is part of that effort. It is intended to inspire hope, caring, and action. If we help create the right conditions and halt our destructive activities, nature can once again revel in its abundance.
There is rich symbolism here. The fusion of science and art, fragility and abundance, death and life, a call to action and a celebration of beauty. This is Zoe.
Gap year diving project, Borneo 2005