Ocean Acidification

Ocean Acidification can be defined as the chemical reaction that reduces seawater pH, carbonate ion concentration, and the saturation states of calcium carbonate minerals. This is caused by C02 getting absorbed by the oceans.

Project Proposal

When thinking about my project proposal I thought a lot about context. I decided that I wanted to do an installation piece that would provoke conversation regarding the topic. I knew that the oceans have been getting warmer for years, but I never really heard about ocean acidification and I doubt I’m the only one. There will never be a solution to the problem without awareness. I’ve always wanted to incorporate dance into a piece and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. The life that surrounds a coral reef, the breakdown of shells, the continuous smog being pumped into our oceans are all such physical processes with very distinct movement qualities. I thought it would be interesting to try and tackle this as a dance. I also thought some screen projects would be interesting as a backdrop to the piece to provide some context.


My Work-in-Progress Project

The first step I took in this process was to write down my thoughts on what Ocean Acidification meant to me. I forced myself to free write without editing, second guessing, or pause. Here were my results:

It’s the bustle of everyday life, it’s the need to go there, and be there by yesterday. It’s the gotta have it, gotta have it now. It’s shopping for the label, keeping up with the Jones, getting a coupon and shopping even though you never needed any of it. A piece in the puzzle, a brick in the wall. What impact could I have? My family, my friends? Whole countries racing towards a line they keep repainting. Imaginary math with real results. It’s ending with blind folds on. Neo will never be found because he was never born because his home collapsed under the weight of deniers. The tiny butterflies showed all the warning signs and we turned our backs. What would it feel like to dissolve from the inside out? Or to have your home slowly fracture around you? How quickly the little guy makes the big one notice. How quickly one problem turns to one war. War to prove you were always right. War against the slides under the microscope yet the budgets of preexisting wars are over analyzed until the number crunchers’ fingers are bleeding. Yet theres is only a sliver of fraction that will be lost in the dark blues triggered by those who will only notice when their weekly lobster is absent.

I then went through this text and picked some of my favorite phrases and worked out some gestural movement using Trisha Brown as my inspiration. The hardest part to tackle was the coral dissolving from the outside in. After some mini-workshoping I decided using isolations and the imagery that there was something crawling inside and working its way around. I also would slowly say the passage to myself as I danced the piece. Here’s my work in progress:

I also experimented with visuals that I would (in the next iteration) project against the wall during the performance. Here is a working ‘prototype’ of what that would look like:

I also worked with computer generated visuals to try and visualize growing (and dying) coral reefs:


For my research I used a system with index cards. For each topic I would have an index card and each point would be bulleted with a color corresponding to whatever source it came from. Here are all my index cards:









And here’s a complete list of my sources:

A Sea Change. Perf. Sven Huseby. Bullfrog Films, 2009. DVD.

Barford, Eliot. “Rising Ocean Acidity Will Exacerbate Global Warming.” Nature (2013). Web. 26 Feb. 2015. <http://www.nature.com/news/rising-ocean-acidity-will-exacerbate-global-warming-1.13602>.

Brenner, Logan. Interview by author. February 1, 2015.

Effects of Climate Change and Ocean Acidification on Living Marine Organisms: Hearing Before the       Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, United States Senate, One Hundred Tenth Congress, First Session, May 10, 2007. 110th Cong. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 2007.

Eisler, Ronald. Oceanic Acidification a Comprehensive Overview. Boca Raton, FL: CRC, 2012. Print.

“ENDANGERED OCEANS.” Center for Biological Diversity. Web. 7 Feb. 2015. <http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/endangered_oceans/index.html>.

Klein, Naomi. “Naomi Klein: “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate” (Book Excerpt).” Democracy Now! Accessed February 16, 2015. http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2014/9/17/thursday_naomi_klein_on_her_new_book.

Kolbert, Elizabeth. “Enter the Anthropocene—Age of Man.” National Geographic 1 Mar. 2011. Print.

Kolbert, Elizabeth. “The Darkening Sea.” The New Yorker, November 20, 2006, 66-75.

“Ocean Acidification: The Other Carbon Dioxide Problem.” PMEL Carbon Program. Web. 8 Feb. 2015. <http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/story/Ocean Acidification>.

“Welcome to the Anthropocene.” Welcome to the Anthropocene. Web. 2 Feb. 2015. <http://www.anthropocene.info/en/home>.

“What Is Ocean Acidification?” PMEL Carbon Program. Web. 11 Feb. 2015. <http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/story/show/215>.



It can be safe to say I learned ALOT through this process. Other than all the scientific facts (ie oceans are crazy) I learned about the value of daily practice and how people outside of the ITP walls can be wonderful collaborators and open to non academically research proposals. I also learned that while I am fine doing all the research, I love to procrastinate the actual making part and had a real issue integrating that with my daily practice. For next time, I want my projects to be more of an iterative process and not wait until I think I can create something ‘great’. I need to learn it’s ok to create something not-so-great and then improve upon it.