Something rather beautiful

As the 2012 transit of Venus draws close, it marks the culmination of five years hard work for one Australian artist.

Lynette Wallworth’s film, Coral: Rekindling Venus, will begin screening in 24 venues around the world on June 5, to coincide with the start of the Venus transit and also World Environment Day.

The film was inspired by the global co-operation that took place in the 18th century – even in the face of war – in order to ensure that scientists could voyage to distant countries to observe the rare astronomical event.

Wallworth wants to see the same kind of joined up joined-up international thinking happen now to avert the climate change felt so acutely by the myriad creatures living within the oceans.

Caribbean Flower Anemone

Shot specifically for projection in dome planetariums, Coral: Rekindling Venus promises “an extraordinary journey into a mysterious realm of fluorescent coral reefs, bioluminescent sea creatures and rare marine life.”

“Imagine corals as the barometer of climate change. Imagine we are the pivot point,” says Wallworth.

“What is apparent when you watch the film is the remarkable survival mechanisms already at play in the community of coral reefs – mechanisms that will be put to the test in the coming years. We might see ourselves as two different communities interconnected in our own survival.”

As to the genesis of her idea, she says:

“It’s impossible to miss the combination of beauty and fragility in coral but the life force they exhibit in their drive to seed new life is a revelation. Subsequently when I have made work on women who have experienced great tragedy and then built extraordinary lives, I use the metaphor of coral resilience to describe them.

“We get seduced by the beauty of corals but they are complex communities who require diversity to thrive, they need the predator as much as they need plankton, they live in absolute crushing proximity with a raft of species, many of whom live in symbiotic relationship with one another and they have evolved means of survival to counter all that we throw at them, if we give them time. I remain endlessly inspired by all I know about them.”

Coral: Rekindling Venus, Venus, Lynette Wallworth, Mrs Morgan's Florilegium, Natalie WaddellAnd the reason for weaving these notions into the Venus transit?

“Great civilizations knew the cycles of Venus and would have watched for this event, it is wonderful to have a moment in time that you know won’t occur again in the lifetime of anyone now watching it. It creates a sense of perspective, causes us to imagine what might be when next the cycle occurs, its not only astronomers who have an interest in such a perspective. For me it was the perfect moment to imagine a work centred on a current global problem and set it adrift on that day to see where it might land.”

You can read the full interview with Wallworth at the Coral: Rekindling Venus website and find out about screenings near you.

“Timing is always important in art but it is nothing less than crucial when your project is tied to an event so rare that it will happen next month – and then not again for 105 years,” wrote The Guardian in another interview with the artist yesterday.

The film is strange and beautiful to look at and will be even more incredible for viewers as it will be shown at planetariums across the world, according to the article.

“People will think they are in space, think they are moving through stars,” said Wallworth.

transit of Venus, Venus, Coral: Rekindling Venus, Lynette Wallworth, Mrs Morgan's Florilegium, Natalie Waddell

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