For the first sketch, I was mostly inspired by how corals grow on top of old environments. This makes me think of placing something natural in conjunction with something man-made or synthetic. Perhaps I am referencing how nature will inevitably win?
On a second viewing of my idea, I did more research and found that there are a lot of projects to help restore the rapidly dying coral reef ecosystem. Global warming is changing the temperature of the ocean waters causing the delicate reef systems to bleach and ultimately die. Because of human pollution, reefs, containing 25% of all marine life, are dying. While there is a heavy negative impact on marine life from humanity, some people are trying to use human intelligence and inventions to help reefs get back on their feet.
Ships to Reefs is a program in California that seeks to change old ships into new homes for coral ecosystems. Most of the time, warships that sink into the sea spill deadly oil and other chemicals that can damage marine life, but for this program, the ships are cleaned and made into artificial reefs so that life can safely grow.
This more positive message about how humans can take a stand and start fixing what we have damaged was inspiring for me. The over-saturation of negative news about the Earth dying from human involvement has led me to really burn out but learning about a positive change that can be done to the world ironically gave me more motivation to make a change. This made me take my more generic idea of simply coral into something that is more about how humans and nature CAN coexist in harmony. If we use our intelligence and technology for an environmentally-safe and natural way, the boundary between humans and nature, or us versus them, can hopefully dissipate.
I'm now especially interested in how corals build around the structures around them, yet for artificial reefs, the ships are being remodeled and refurbished around corals. This connected relationship between nature and humans gives a more positive and motivational mood to me.
I'm quite interested in how coral reefs can build around sunken ships. The second picture is very cube-like so I was thinking of perhaps making the cube more skeletal like in the picture and having the coral build around the structure.
Materials like steel or other metals that can rust can be made into the structure of my "artificial reef" to give it that underwater texture. I want it to be a skeletal structure because holes are regularly drilled into the hulls of old ships to give more room for coral development. I want to give space for my coral and I want to show that human inventions and nature and mix inside and out.
The coral will be most likely 3D printed but I can also bring in actual live specimens like grass or moss from outside. I find it amusing that people are trying to make artificial reefs for real corals while I'm making artificial corals for artificial reefs.
Overall, I want this piece to have a sense of harmony between the human parts and the natural parts. I don't want a clash and I want the structure to flow well into each other.
Upon deciding on my first sketch as my final project. I went into Cinema4D to model the object according to the sketch. Because I had done more research and had learned about artificial reefs, I did some changes to the models to reflect that. This can be seen in the hollowing out of the cube and putting windows on the side of the cube. I also had a larger coral grow through the middle to poke out on top.
When I was making the piece, it did really feel like I was adding organisms to this artificial, human-made object. It felt like I was building an ecosystem of coral.
For Sketch 2, I was eating a pomegranate and I was intrigued by the patterns and how bead-like the pomegranate seeds were. It also reminded me of fish eggs. I wanted that kind of bulbous texture spilling out of a larger egg-like orb.
In Sketch 3, I was thinking about phagocytosis which is how a cell engulfs another particle. I also wanted to play with not having the cube sitting on its side. Thus, I had the slime part hold up the cube.