Voice of Coralby Miguel Sbastida

November 25th, 2023 - February 7th, 2024
   “If I could talk to a coral reef, I would ask them to tell me how it is to live on the sea bed, in a parallel world but on this same Earth. I wonder about the adaptative superpowers of all the creatures that live there, and their voices too. I wonder if they know we are here roaming the dry soil and changing the Earth system at large. I wonder, if they can hear the sounds of our oil rigs and our motorboats, and if they enjoy the chatter of airplanes passing by the sky. I wonder if they know about deep sea mining and if, as trees in a forest, they also feel the death of neighbor reefs to blast fishing and trawling. I wonder if they can hear the silence emanating off their bleached bodies and I can’t fail to wonder if they might speak to us as well. I can’t imagine how it must feel to be cooked alive, in an ocean of warming, acidifying waters; but if I could, I would ask them to tell us their story, through the embodied knowledge that they are, as one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on Earth.”

Voice of Coral is the latest chapter in an ongoing research project connected to the postnatural ecologies of coral reefs, and the sophisticated technologies being implemented at oceanic restoration sites, in an effort to accelerate the coral’s adaptation to the changing climate. The exhibition looks closely at the technique of acoustic enrichment, through a series of sculptural sound-based works that invite the viewer to experience the language of coral creatures and the fading voice of a soundscape predicted to disappear within the next century. As part of the exhibition the GAR Gallery will be donating a portion of the exhibition budget to Reef Renewal USA to help fund coral restoration and research. Visitors will also be given the opportunity to actively contribute to these efforts.

Miguel Sbastida (1989, Madrid, Spain) works at the boundary of visual arts and environmental studies to create interdisciplinary installations, situated performances and films that challenge the cultural constructions of our relationship to nature and unveil the interconnected processes of climate breakdown. Sbastida graduated from an MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2017) with the full support of a scholarship from La Caixa Foundation. He completed a BFA at Universidad Complutense of Madrid (2007-12) after his BFA studies in Holland (2011) and Canada (2012). His work has been shown internationally at individual and group exhibitions, including the Bozar Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels; Museo Centro Gaiás, Spain; Locust Projects, Miami; Korea Foundation Gallery, Seoul; CDAN Museum, Spain; CCE Montevideo, Uruguay; Boghossian Foundation, Brussel and the Netherlands Institute for Media Art, Amsterdam among others.

His work is included in the collections of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago Joan Flasch Collection, Asia Culture Institute of South Korea, Harvard University, DKV Collection, BilbaoArte Foundation or the Oneminutes Foundation Netherlands.

Voice of Coral was curated by Regine Basha.


Coral Talk with marine biologist and former superintendent of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, George P. Schmahl.

Jan. 18th, 2024

Read Glasstire’s review of Voice of Coral, written by Carris Adams.

2521 Ships Mechanic Row | Galveston, TX 77550 | info@galvestonartistresidency.org |