Animal Collective’s 'Tangerine Reef': Myth, Mystery and Subtle Environmentalism
By David Colgan
Covering less than two percent of the ocean floor, they are home to a quarter of all marine species. But unlike rainforests, a longtime conservation focus, corals have received relatively little attention. The alien-looking seascapes have captivated explorers, divers and others privileged enough to visit, but remained largely out of sight for most people.
Animal Collective's latest album and video Tangerine Reef' was created to coincide with International Year of the Reef.Animal Collective
That environment of the unknown—and protecting it—was the motivation for Animal Collective's latest album and video, Tangerine Reef. The album was created to coincide with International Year of the Reef, said Brian Weitz (geologist), who performs synths, samples and electronic effects for the band.In keeping with the band's name, the members of Animal Collective all care about nature and the environment, Weitz said. And enigmatic, bizarre-looking corals made a natural partner to Animal Collective's sound.
"We want our music to be a little bit mysterious and a little abstract to allow people to have their own interactions with it—and not guide them too strongly on how they should be interacting with it," Weitz said. "I believe that about art in general."
The video for Tangerine Reef shows corals moving 10 times their natural speed, making them seem otherworldly but humanlike. Slimy appendages wriggle and feed neon, tessellating mouths. At times, they seem to smile. At other times, the images drift into patterns and abstraction.
There is still a lot we don't know about corals: Scientists weren't sure how they reproduced until 1981 and researchers are still learning the details about how they live, grow and respond to environmental stresses.
Globally, corals are threatened by warming waters and ocean acidification, twin effects of carbon emissions and climate change. They are also under attack by localized threats like overfishing, invasive species and pollution.
Weitz, an avid scuba diver with two degrees from Columbia University—a bachelor's in environmental biology and a master's in environmental science and policy—said the band created Tangerine Reef to inspire appreciation of corals. Still, you'd be hard pressed to find a clear message or call to action. Their primary objective is still to entertain.
"We've definitely struggled with when, as a band, we want to come out and say something political," Weitz said. "We're not getting too 'Bono' about it," he joked, referring to the outspoken U2 singer.
Tangerine Reef was produced in tandem with Coral Morphologic, a Miami-based art-science duo on a mission to grow, document and protect corals. Biologist Colin Foord and musician J.D. McKay raise individual specimens in their lab and sell them to hobbyists around the country. They also pioneered a filming technique that brings out the best in corals' movements and fluorescent patterns. Their work has been presented in museums, featured in publications such as National Geographic—even projected on buildings in downtown Miami.
One of the group's primary goals is to make corals more relatable.
The band Animal Collective produced "Tangerine Reef" in tandem with Coral Morphologic, a Miami-based art-science duo on a mission to grow, document and protect corals around the world. Animal Collective / David Lynch Festival of Disruption
"The icons of conservation are panda bears," Foord said. "They're cute and cuddly. Coral doesn't have a brain, it doesn't have eyes. It lives on a 700-year timespan, compared to humans' 70-year timespan. When you speed them up ten times, you're bringing them to a time frame we can empathize with."
Land-dwelling species such as snakes, lions and buffalo feature prominently in human myths, traditional stories that often attempt to explain natural phenomena. Foord thinks corals may get a more prominent role in such stories now that technology makes them visible.
"They are kind of future mythologists, showing us what we need to understand in order to adapt and be more resilient in the future," Foord said. "The slogan of coral today, as it has been for half a billion years, is 'adapt or die.' You're cemented in place. If it gets too hot or too polluted, you can't just swim away."
Likewise, he said, humans can't just pick up and leave a warming, changing planet. We must reckon with global conditions we have a hand in creating.
Both Foord and Weitz began environmental careers before switching to arts. When talking to Weitz, it becomes clear that he feels a little guilty about leaving that work behind. For him, the excitement of making and performing music was too intriguing to pass up.
"You create something and then you put it out there in the world. You interact with fans at live shows," Weitz said. "The give and take of positive energy is really tangible and it happens in a really short timeframe."
"Coral doesn't have a brain, it doesn't have eyes. It lives on a 700-year timespan, compared to humans' 70-year timespan. When you speed them up ten times, you're bringing them to a time frame we can empathize with." Animal Collective
Psychedelic qualities of animals, including corals, play a role in many of Animal Collective's songs and albums. Samples from nature, whether the songs of marine mammals or sounds from a Brazilian rainforest, are distorted to the point where it's not clear exactly what the listener is hearing. Weitz hopes the results are as captivating as coral reefs are to him when he's scuba diving.
"That's our main goal. Just a sense of awe and inspiration," Weitz said.
It's up to individuals themselves take the next step of caring about the animals and what happens to them, he said.
Ursula Heise, an expert on environmental narratives at UCLA, said she found the album "meditative," inviting contemplation.
"Avey Tare's voice often sounds very mournful, and it's mourning the loss of something but we don't see that loss depicted in the images," Heise said. "There is an odd tension between the beauty of the images and the desolation and melancholy that is obvious in quite a few of the tracks on the album."
Scientists Battle Mysterious Pathogen Destroying Coral Reefs Off Florida Coast https://t.co/gcEF629vES @JeremyLeggett @climateinstitut— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1518611709.0
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Wisdom the mōlī, or Laysan albatross, is the oldest wild bird known to science at the age of at least 70. She is also, as of February 1, a new mother.
<div id="dadb2" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="aa2ad8cb566c9b4b6d2df2693669f6f9"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1357796504740761602" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">🚨Cute baby alert! Wisdom's chick has hatched!!! 🐣😍 Wisdom, a mōlī (Laysan albatross) and world’s oldest known, ban… https://t.co/Nco050ztBA</div> — USFWS Pacific Region (@USFWS Pacific Region)<a href="https://twitter.com/USFWSPacific/statuses/1357796504740761602">1612558888.0</a></blockquote></div>
By Hui Hu
Winter is supposed to be the best season for wind power – the winds are stronger, and since air density increases as the temperature drops, more force is pushing on the blades. But winter also comes with a problem: freezing weather.
Comparing rime ice and glaze ice shows how each changes the texture of the blade. Gao, Liu and Hu, 2021, CC BY-ND
Ice buildup changes air flow around the turbine blade, which can slow it down. The top photos show ice forming after 10 minutes at different temperatures in the Wind Research Tunnel. The lower measurements show airflow separation as ice accumulates. Icing Research Tunnel of Iowa State University, CC BY-ND
While traditional investment in the ocean technology sector has been tentative, growth in Israeli maritime innovations has been exponential in the last few years, and environmental concern has come to the forefront.
theDOCK aims to innovate the Israeli maritime sector. Pexels<p>The UN hopes that new investments in ocean science and technology will help turn the tide for the oceans. As such, this year kicked off the <a href="https://www.oceandecade.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)</a> to galvanize massive support for the blue economy.</p><p>According to the World Bank, the blue economy is the "sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem," <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412019338255#b0245" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Science Direct</a> reported. It represents this new sector for investments and innovations that work in tandem with the oceans rather than in exploitation of them.</p><p>As recently as Aug. 2020, <a href="https://www.reutersevents.com/sustainability/esg-investors-slow-make-waves-25tn-ocean-economy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Reuters</a> noted that ESG Investors, those looking to invest in opportunities that have a positive impact in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, have been interested in "blue finance" but slow to invest.</p><p>"It is a hugely under-invested economic opportunity that is crucial to the way we have to address living on one planet," Simon Dent, director of blue investments at Mirova Natural Capital, told Reuters.</p><p>Even with slow investment, the blue economy is still expected to expand at twice the rate of the mainstream economy by 2030, Reuters reported. It already contributes $2.5tn a year in economic output, the report noted.</p><p>Current, upward <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/-innovation-blue-economy-2646147405.html" target="_self">shifts in blue economy investments are being driven by innovation</a>, a trend the UN hopes will continue globally for the benefit of all oceans and people.</p><p>In Israel, this push has successfully translated into investment in and innovation of global ports, shipping, logistics and offshore sectors. The "Startup Nation," as Israel is often called, has seen its maritime tech ecosystem grow "significantly" in recent years and expects that growth to "accelerate dramatically," <a href="https://itrade.gov.il/belgium-english/how-israel-is-becoming-a-port-of-call-for-maritime-innovation/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">iTrade</a> reported.</p><p>Driving this wave of momentum has been rising Israeli venture capital hub <a href="https://www.thedockinnovation.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">theDOCK</a>. Founded by Israeli Navy veterans in 2017, theDOCK works with early-stage companies in the maritime space to bring their solutions to market. The hub's pioneering efforts ignited Israel's maritime technology sector, and now, with their new fund, theDOCK is motivating these high-tech solutions to also address ESG criteria.</p><p>"While ESG has always been on theDOCK's agenda, this theme has become even more of a priority," Nir Gartzman, theDOCK's managing partner, told EcoWatch. "80 percent of the startups in our portfolio (for theDOCK's Navigator II fund) will have a primary or secondary contribution to environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria."</p><p>In a company presentation, theDOCK called contribution to the ESG agenda a "hot discussion topic" for traditional players in the space and their boards, many of whom are looking to adopt new technologies with a positive impact on the planet. The focus is on reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment, the presentation outlines. As such, theDOCK also explicitly screens candidate investments by ESG criteria as well.</p><p>Within the maritime space, environmental innovations could include measures like increased fuel and energy efficiency, better monitoring of potential pollution sources, improved waste and air emissions management and processing of marine debris/trash into reusable materials, theDOCK's presentation noted.</p>
theDOCK team includes (left to right) Michal Hendel-Sufa, Head of Alliances, Noa Schuman, CMO, Nir Gartzman, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, and Hannan Carmeli, Co-Founder & Managing Partner. Dudu Koren<p>theDOCK's own portfolio includes companies like Orca AI, which uses an intelligent collision avoidance system to reduce the probability of oil or fuel spills, AiDock, which eliminates the use of paper by automating the customs clearance process, and DockTech, which uses depth "crowdsourcing" data to map riverbeds in real-time and optimize cargo loading, thereby reducing trips and fuel usage while also avoiding groundings.</p><p>"Oceans are a big opportunity primarily because they are just that – big!" theDOCK's Chief Marketing Officer Noa Schuman summarized. "As such, the magnitude of their criticality to the global ecosystem, the magnitude of pollution risk and the steps needed to overcome those challenges – are all huge."</p><p>There is hope that this wave of interest and investment in environmentally-positive maritime technologies will accelerate the blue economy and ESG investing even further, in Israel and beyond.</p>
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