January 19, 2024

CORDAP’s inaugural Artist in Residence program combined science, sound and art

In November 2023, CORDAP launched its first Artist in Residence program, collaborating with international sound artist Jana Winderen.

Inspiring and mobilizing society about the need to conserve and restore corals and reefs worldwide is a vital part of our mission. Through our Artist in Residence program, each year we will invite artists to create work inspired by CORDAP’s mission, and by the research and technology solutions currently being developed to conserve and restore corals worldwide. 

Jana Winderen, an artist based in Norway with a background in fish ecology, mathematics and chemistry, was the first to be  invited to spend a month with us at KAUST. Jana’s art pays particular attention to audio environments and creatures that are hard for humans to access, deep under water, inside ice or in frequency ranges inaudible to the human ear. She has developed site-specific and spatial audio installations and concerts, which have been exhibited and performed internationally in major institutions and public spaces.

Collecting the sounds of the sea

Art possesses the unique ability to captivate, educate, and mobilize the masses. It creates an emotional connection between people and a cause, making them more likely to care deeply and take action. By involving art in communicating science ocean conservation, we can harness the power of creativity to transform the way we perceive and respond to the crisis the ocean is facing.

During her residency with CORDAP, Jana had the opportunity to collaborate with a team of scientists and researchers, exploring the Red Sea’s unique coral reefs.

Working with the team, she focused on capturing the soundscape of coral ecosystems, using hydrophones to record the sound that coral communities produce. The recordings were gathered at different distances from the coast, at various points of the day and night times, to try and understand how the soundscape changes underwater with and without human interference.

Turning art into action

Following the residency, Jana is now developing an installation, which CORDAP will be able to showcase at high-level national and international events to raise awareness and help build people’s understanding of the importance of protecting and restoring corals. The first outcome of Jana’s residency will be showcased in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, at the Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale 2024: AFTER RAIN. Her work is called “Voices from the Edge: Under Water”.

Art is an essential catalyst for driving societal change. We are thrilled to embark on this journey with Jana and to further put the spotlight on how art and science can be combined to raise awareness on coral conservation and restoration. We hope that her artistic creations and insights will inspire and mobilize society to take an active role towards the preservation of coral reefs worldwide.

Coral reefs are among the Earth’s most biodiverse and economically valuable ecosystems. They provide habitat for countless marine species, support the livelihoods of several millions of people, and offer essential protection for coastal communities against storms and erosion. But they are being pushed to the brink of collapse. 

The urgency to save corals is growing, and immediate action is required. To address this pressing issue, the Coral Research & Development Accelerator Platform (CORDAP) was launched in 2020 as a G20 initiative to fast-track research and development solutions to save the world’s corals.

Find out more about the projects we are supporting:

Projects Awarded – CORDAP

And how you can get involved in our work: 

Team Coral – CORDAP

Coral photo credits: Luís Silva