Collaborations with Nature

Operation Crayweed:Art-Work-Site

Operation Crayweed Art-Work-Site  

a collaboration between art | science | environment | community  

Sculpture by the Sea 2016  

environmental | performative | participatory


An ‘art-work-site’ along the Bondi to Bronte walk highlighted the underwater crayweed reforestation work-site planted in mid October this year beneath the swell between Marks Park and the South Bondi Headland.


Operation Crayweed Art-Work-Site was a collaboration between artists Turpin + Crawford Studio and the scientific team from the University of NSW Department of Marine Ecology headed by Dr Adriana Vergés, Dr Ziggy Marzinelli and Professor Peter Steinberg, also from the Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS).


Bondi is one in a series of reforestation sites that will see the scientists planting crayweed (Phyllospora comosa) along Sydney’s eastern seaboard from Cronulla to Palm Beach to restore the underwater forests and their marine ecosystems lost in the 70s and 80s when Sydney’s sewage outfalls emptied directly onshore. Today, water quality is dramatically improved, but crayweed has not returned on its own. The scientists’ project Operation Crayweed is a good news story for marine restoration of Sydney’s coastline.


A rippling 500 metre long line of vibrant yellow work-site safety fence delineated the scientific ‘work station’ and inscribed Operation Crayweed Art-Work-Site along the Bondi to Bronte walk from South Bondi to Marks Park.


School children from 5 local schools; Clovelly Public, Coogee Public, Rainbow St Public, Randwick Girls and Boys High Schools participated in a program of both science and art workshops to inform and inspire them about the Operation Crayweed project, extending the project's reach into the community.  With the marine scientists from USNW and SIMS, the school children visited the crayweed test plantation site at Long Bay, then in the laboratory learnt more about the science and issues of marine habitat and biodiversity.  With the artists from Turpin + Crawford Studio, they made wearable marine creature artworks and through the creative process they focussed on imagining the life of a marine creature who lives amidst crayweed.


These costumes were then paraded at the project launch of the art-work-site at Bondi, after students from Bronte and Bondi Public Schools performed musical numbers including an adaptation of “Yellow Submarine”.


On the last weekend of Sculpture by the Sea, ocean swimmers from 4 Seasons Swim performed a synchronised swim to celebrate the successful planting of the new crayweed.


Images courtesy Ian Hobbs Media.



Sculpture by the Sea 2016 - Chapter 11, Exhibiting Artists Jennifer Turpin and Michaelie Crawford.



Operation Crayweed Synchronised Swim, 2016