Adelaide Festival – Rekindling Venus

Mar 09 Thu
Public Event
6pm - 7pm @ The Palais, Adelaide

Still from “Coral: Rekindling Venus,” by Lynette Wallworth.

At the Adelaide Festival, writer, commentator and TV compare Annabel Crabb will host a discussion about corals in art and science, in conjunction with a screening of the extraordinary planetarium film Coral: Rekindling Venus, by new-media pioneer Lynnette Wallworth. Joining Crabb and Wallworth is IFF director Margaret Wertheim, co-creator of the Crochet Coral Reef project, and scientist Anya Salih whose heads a laboratory that is researching how corals fluoresce. 4 remarkable women will reflect on the remarkable organisms of coral – their aesthetic power, their ecological criticality, and what they are teaching us about quantum mechanical interactions with light.

Discussion Moderator:
Annabel Crabb is an Australian journalist and commentator who is the ABC’s chief online political writer. She has worked for The Sydney Morning HeraldThe Age, the Sunday Age and The Sun-Herald, and won a Walkley Award in 2009 for her Quarterly Essay, “Stop at Nothing.”


Coral fluorescing. Image courtesy Dr. Anya Salih, University of Western Sydney.

Discussion Participants:
Lynette Wallworth is an Australian artist who uses interactive technologies to create immersive installations. Wallworth’s artworks have been exhibited widely including at the Lincoln Center NYC and the Sundance Film Festival. Her recent work includes Coral: Rekindling Venus designed to be seen in digital planetariums, and Collisions, a ground-breaking VR film that tells the story of an Aboriginal man’s encounter with atomic bombs tests in central Australia in the 1950’s. See here

Dr Anya Salih, a scientist in the School of Science and Health at the University of Western Sydney, is researching the biological function of coral colours – the glow-in-the-dark fluorescent proteins that light up coral reefs, and are featured in the film, Coral: Rekindling Venus. Dr Salih has teamed with many scientists from around the world – marine biologists, biophysicists, molecular biologists, electrophysiologists and biochemists – to solve the mystery of coral fluorescence. See more about her lab.

Margaret Wertheim, founder and director of the Institute For Figuring, is the co-creator with her sister Christine Wertheim of the Crochet Coral Reef project, perhaps the largest science and art project in the world. To date almost 10,000 women in a dozen countries have participated in constructing an ever-evolving wooly archipelago, which has been exhibited at the Hayward Gallery in London, the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., and elsewhere. The project is currently exhibiting at the University of California, Santa Cruz. See here.

Thanks to Kate Hillgrove.


Phosphorescent plastic-ball coral head. Detail of the sculpture “Coral Forest: Ea” crocheted out of yarn, video-tape, and plastic refuse, by Margaret and Christine Wertheim – on exhibition at the Institute For Figuring (Los Angeles, 2013).