Designed to envelope you in an ecosystem, Lynette Wallworth’s Coral: Rekindling Venus is screening at Carriageworks’ fulldome cinema – like those seen in planetariums – for just four afternoons this week, the first time it’s been shown in Sydney.
“It’s like Alice In Wonderland,” says Wallworth. “You go down the rabbit hole and end up lying on the sea floor, looking upwards, and for the next 20 minutes, you see an extraordinarily complex community struggling to live and striving to exist.”
While Coral presents the Great Barrier Reef as another world, it aims to galvanise you into action, guided by a soundtrack featuring original works by musicians such as Anohni, Gurrumul and German composer Max Richter.
“My hope,” says Wallworth, “is that you fall in love with these creatures struggling in these increasing temperatures.”
Since Coral debuted in 2012, the Great Barrier Reef has undergone significant trauma. It’s now estimated that more than 90 per cent of the reef has experienced some form of coral bleaching with never-seen levels of damage in the last two years. While a sense of urgency runs throughout Coral, it’s not just a diatribe against climate change.
“My goal isn’t to create a work that screams only about climate change and coral reefs,” says Wallworth. “Often we think to treat or cure one strand when it’s not a strand, it’s part of a net. So we try to solve one thing and it doesn’t work, because there’s an underpinning structure.”
In this sense, Coral is an echoing of stories seen throughout the world.
“[Coral] is a collective experience,” says Wallworth. “I wanted to create a work that holds you in the hand of the community of coral, so you have a different perspective on mining, on runoff, on your own actions.”
When Coral was first released, it was timed with the Transit of Venus in June 2012. Wallworth describes it as a time where society stops and is united by a desire to look up at the stars. While the next transit is not until 2117, she hopes a rekindling – a moment of unity in action – is still possible.
Coral: Rekindling Venus is screening at Carriageworks from March 2 to 5. Entry is free, bookings vital.