Deep Breathing by Janet Laurence - opening event
Opening night of the artwork Deep Breathing by Janet Laurence The work represents an international collaboration between the renowned artist and researchers from the AM, Great Barrier Reef Authority, Australian Institute of Marine Science, Paris' Museum national d'Histoire naturelle and WWF. Deep Breathing is constructed using glass test tubes, photographs, videos, sculptural objects and museum specimens – specifically, great sea turtles. Featuring small corals on beds transfused with colour, along with other specimens wrapped in morgue- like wraps, the installation deals principally with the impact of coral bleaching, Crown of Thorns Starfish, acid waters and recent cyclones on the Reef. Deep Breathing was exhibited at Paris' Museum national d'Histoire naturelle as part of the Artists for Climate Change initiative during the COP21 talks in November 2015. Laurence was one of 30 artists from 23 countries selected to exhibit her work during the Conference. Image: Tim Levy
© Australian Museum

Kim McKay in conversation with AM artist-in-residence Janet Laurence after the opening of Deep Breathing (Resuscitation for the Reef).

Janet Laurence's installation Deep Breathing (Resuscitation for the Reef) is an exploration of the impact of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef. Made from museum specimens, lab equipment, coral and glass, it emulates a life-saving resuscitation unit and draws attention to the impacts of global warming on one of the world’s great natural wonders.

“For me now, I’m wanting to talk about what we are losing in my art. Often my work is celebrating the beauty and extraordinary aspects of nature, but I feel compelled to reveal – in a state of emergency – what's happening.”

Created during a residency at the AM’s Lizard Island Reef Station, this is the Australian premiere of the work after showing at the 2015 Climate Change Conference in Paris.

“As an artist, I feel that I have an access to a different public than the scientists, and I think what is quite interesting is to be able to reveal a lot of that material that is seen in the scientific world and ... make it more accessible. Because I think sometimes the general public are a bit mystified by scientific information. And I feel that happens very much with the discussion of climate change.”

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