Coral Morphologic Sees Miami as One Big Reef Above the Surface

Categories: Art
This is the fifth in a series of articles profiling the seven finalists for the New Times' Mastermind Awards, which will be presented to four local artists during Artopia at the Freedom Tower February 11.

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It all started with a fish tank. Like many boys, Colin Foord had an aquarium his "whole life." But his wasn't just any old fish tank. It had live coral, animals often mistaken for plants that swayed and moved ever so slowly behind glass. It was so impressive it got the New Hampshire native into the University of Miami's marine biology program.

"I wanted to be here in Miami because it's the only city on the mainland with a coral reef," Foord says.

Foord traveled to Australia and the South Pacific, where he made field recordings and snapped pictures underwater. When he returned, he also hooked up with his childhood friend, Jared McKay, and talked him into moving to the Magic City.

"When I came back, Jared and I brainstormed and saw there was a niche for aquatic-based art, a blending of science and art using multimedia," Foord says.

The two also launched Coral Morphologic, a fledgling business that creates artworks and sells live coral, which Foord carefully harvests in an eco-friendly way and reproduces at home. Unlike most Miami denizens, coral creatures are asexual. By cutting them, Foord essentially is cloning "animals that have perpetual life."

But if the business is thriving, it's the art that seems to be drawing attention. Coral Morphologic concocts installations that combine sound and light to transform the minute creatures into abstract works of surreal art that are also a timely commentary on life in the Magic City.

"In an urban environment, space is at a premium, and you have a mixture of different cultures," Foord says. "It's very colorful, it's warm, it's neon.

"We see the way life moves in this day; it's constantly in flux. Reality shifts. To be successful, you have to carefully adapt and evolve to survive."

Just like a coral reef.

To check out Coral Morphologic's work, visit the Morphologic Blog.

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