Lombok’s New ARTificial Reef

  • The project uses Biorock technology to stimulate reef growth.

    The project uses Biorock technology to stimulate reef growth.

  • Indonesian artist Teguh Osternik is installing this project to preserve the reef he dove for many years.

    Indonesian artist Teguh Osternik is installing this project to preserve the reef he dove for many years.

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Revisiting the reef off Lombok’s Senggigi Beach after an absence of many years, Indonesian artist Teguh Osternik was shocked to find that the corals he had once explored as a diver had all but disappeared. His response? To rebuild the reef through a combination of art and science. Teaming up with the Gili Eco Trust, which has used Biorock structures (essentially steel frameworks electrified with low-voltage currents) to regenerate reefs around the nearby Gili islands, Osternik has embarked on what he calls an ARTificial reef park, creating scrap-metal installations that, once submerged, wired to floating solar panels, and seeded with pieces of rescued coral, will grow into a new coral garden. His first structures have just been planted off the coast from the Senggigi’s De Quake Restaurant and should only take a few months to establish themselves. Looking ahead, Osternik hopes to recruit a curator to oversee the addition of other artists’ work to his underwater gallery. –David Tse

This article originally appeared in the June/July 2014 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Reef Relief”).

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