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Art and Environmental Politics

The Lady Musgrave Reef, 2002–2019 Petra Maitz Source: Petra Maitz

Petra Maitz is an artist and also a scientist. Her installation „Lady Musgrave Reef“, is part of the interdisciplinary Internet project „Critical Zones, Horizonte einer neuen Erdpolitik“. Its aim is to think about ideas for the design of a more sustainable life and to focus on the symbiosis between man and earth. Petra's work is a colourful crocheted coral landscape that has been exhibited internationally over the past 15 years. The aspect that the GBR has since gone through 3 large coral bleaching events, is now to be added to the work in a new, naturally white addition. All these issues will be discussed in todays segment of our series „In Conversation“ – and even the coronavirus will become part of the discussion.

Petra Maitz has been dealing with the connection between artistic creation and environmental policy for years. Since we talked about it - over 10 years ago in this program - the GBR has been so badly affected by climate change that a total of almost 90% of it has been bleached a tone time or another, if you add it all up. That doesn't mean 90% of the reef has died. In the past, bleached corals sometimes recovered after 10 to 15 years. However, the timespan between bleaching events gets ever tighter. 30% of the corals died after the 2016 event, the worst of 5 bleaching events since 1998. In 2017 it was time again, with the bleaching of another 20% and last summer the result was almost as bad as it was in 2016. It is also important that in each of the large bleaching events, different parts of the reef fell victim to it. In 2016/17 it was the north and the middle, 2019/20 the south of the area. The reef is not yet completely dead, say the experts who are examining the latest data, there are still areas with living corals, but with the rising temperatures the future looks bleak.

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