We’ve never seen anything like it witnessing coral death and resurrection

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The last “global coral bleaching event” lasted three years (2014–2017), solidifying the plight of the world’s coral reefs as a defining problem of the Anthropocene. The catastrophe inspired countless media stories, becoming common knowledge in parts of the world far from any coastline. Despite the urgency of this latest discovery of coral mass mortality, it is likely that coral decline would never have become the widely recognized crisis that it is today without the visual witnessing technologies that made bleaching so sensationally obvious. And now some proposed solutions to the problem of coral decline, such as large-scale, privately funded coral reef restoration projects, have become reliant on such witnessing tools to mediate public relations and engage many forms of social support. This article presents examples from coral visualizations and materializations in The Bahamas and Indonesia in order to explore the highly uneven politics of witnessing coral life and death.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory