Australian Embassy
The Philippines

SP120530: Advance Film Screening of 'Coral Rekindling Venus' - Welcome Remarks by Ambassador Bill Tweddell

Advance Film Screening For the Media “Coral: Rekindling Venus”
Welcome Remarks by Ambassador Bill Tweddell
30 May 2012 

Thank you for joining us this morning. I am pleased to welcome you, our media friends, to the advance screening of ‘Coral: Rekindling Venus’.

This immersive film promises to take us all in an extraordinary journey into fluorescent coral reefs, bioluminescent sea creatures and rare marine life, revealing a complex community living in the oceans most threatened by climate change.

The message behind the film is profound. Allow me to quote the artist who created this film, Lynette Wallworth: “My intent is to leave the audience with a sense of wonder for the complexity of the coral community and a deep-felt longing to see it survive. What are apparent when you watch the film are the remarkable survival mechanisms already at play in the community of coral reefs, mechanisms that will be put to the test in the coming years. We might see ourselves as two different communities interconnected in our own survival.”

Lynette challenges us all to: “Imagine global co-operation for a global problem. Imagine corals as the barometer of climate change. Imagine we are the pivot point. Imagine rekindling Venus.”

In a week’s time, we will be marking two auspicious dates, World Environment Day on June 5th, and we will witness the rare astronomical phenomenon, the transit of Venus across the sun. In the 18th century, the transit of Venus became a rallying point for scientific global cooperation. This transit will be the last in our lifetime, and Lynette used that powerful metaphor to call for global cooperation, this time on a crucial issue: climate change.

As art, this film brings together contemporary visual artist, and talented musician including famous Indigenous Australian musician Gurrumul whose distinct piece you will hear at the beginning of the film.

This film is also significant in the way it uses fulldome technology- which usually takes us in a journey through the skies – to instead immerse us in an underwater world. Lynette Wallworth is at the frontier cracking open the fulldome as an immersive space for artists where art, technology, science and beauty can converge.

I am pleased to share this innovative film with our Filipino friends, because it is a glowing example of what contemporary Australia is about – it is about talented people who are using their gifts to change the world for the better; it is about innovation and technology; and it is about the environment, about climate change, and about taking action to protect coral reefs.

Australia and the Philippines share the same natural bounty – our countries are known for the beauty and diversity of our marine landscape. We also face the same global challenge of climate change. The Australian Government is working with our partners in the Philippines on various initiatives to help build community resilience in the face of these challenges through both bilateral and regional fora. The challenges may seem overwhelming, but we know that through cooperation, we can achieve much.

So I invite you now to enjoy the film. Thank you and I look forward to an engaging discussion with you afterwards.