This is a participatory art experience and memorial service for our deceased and dying coral reefs: we will commune, consider the impact of our collective actions, and seek a catalyst for change in recognition of death. Wander an immersive coral reef labyrinth populated with hundreds of handcrafted corals made from recovered and repurposed plastic waste.

Join us this Earth Day Weekend (April 20-22, 2019), both in gratitude and in vigil, to contemplate the fate of one of our planet’s most vital ecosystems.


Wake (n)

  • The region of disturbed flow (often turbulent), downstream of a solid body moving through fluid.

  • A social gathering associated with death, usually before the funeral.

Wake (v)

  • To emerge or cause to emerge from a state of sleep

We invite participants to receive and consider the ramifications of interspecific violence threatening mass ecosystem collapse.

We invite participants to contemplate our collective and individual roles in these deaths.   

Lastly, we invite participants to consider what opportunities for growth are present in the midst of catastrophic change. How do we catalyze some small change in ourselves? How can the finality of death and the fragility of life help us to grasp the real stakes of our actions?

Upon acceptance of your part in this interconnected system, you are hereby invited to REEF WAKE.



Our coral reefs, an integral part of our oceanic and global ecosystem, are dying. As anthropogenic contaminants such as nitrogen, phosphorus and plastics overtake ocean systems, one of our most vital natural resources teeters on the brink. Over the past 30 years roughly half of the Earth’s coral reefs have died and, even if we were somehow able to halt global warming today, scientists maintain that over 90% of our world’s coral reefs will disappear over the next 30 years.

This interactive coral reef memorial is fabricated entirely from plastic films, ocean trash foraged from Brighton Beach, and other repurposed garbage from New York City, exposing and disrupting the harmful human waste cycles they represent. Participants are invited to carry a special REEF WAKE lantern and wander through a hand-made coral reef constituted of the very materials actively poisoning our oceanic systems. As they wander, they are invited to move or remove 1 piece of the reef.

Every piece of trash has its own unique life cycle -- from the manufacturer to the user to the waste disposal system and then, ultimately, out to our defenseless oceans. So too does each piece of REEF WAKE carry signs of its own history: every piece of plastic’s original markings are left visible, revealing past lives as grocery bags, familiar packets for a specific food item, or perhaps packing materials. Hundreds of these plastic films have been heat pressed, hand-cut into organic forms, and stitched into coral-like forms on the artist’s family’s sewing machine to individuate each unique piece of coral. The pieces are patterned in fluorescent paint (to mimic the naturally occurring biofluorescence in healthy, living coral) and set into an immersive maze that makes up the REEF WAKE installation.