Year: 2023 Type: Videoinstallation Lenght: 12 minutes



Shown at:

CPH DOX, April 2023
Bloom Festival, June 2023
New York, Science New Wave Festival, Oct 2023
CineMare International Ocean Film Festival Kiel, April 2024


Silent extinction shows a coral’s response to rising water temperatures in a visual work that documents the tragic beauty of corals’ endangered existence.


In a close collaboration with a team of coral researchers, documentary filmmaker Maja Friis has used macro optics to discover distinctive movements and altered behaviours in coral individuals from an underwater world of slow life and silent extinction. Silent Extinction’ is a video portrait of the coral species Fungia undergoing a complete transformation as an immediate response to an ongoing heat stress.


The coral has been filmed non-stop day and night during a period of several weeks where the coral has been exposes to a scientific heat experiment simulating the ocean’s now regular heat waves. This thorough shooting process has made it possible to visually capture the coral’s instantly response to rising water temperature in a way that hasn’t been visually detected and captured in real time before.


“Working on Breathing Coral gave me the opportunity to visualise coral bleaching using new tools that are normally not available in a scientific laboratory. In 10 years working with corals, I have measured this phenomenon countless times but I have always looked at it indirectly, through signals, numbers, graphs. But now for the first time, I felt like I could truly witness coral bleaching. The method allowed me to notice movement patters that my previous approaches had overlooked”

Dr. Elena Bollati Post.doc, University of Copenhagen


Visual artist: Maja Friis
Scientists: Elena Bollati, Michael Kühl
Cinematographer: Anders Nydam
Composer: Martin Dirkov
Colorist: Anders Vadgaard Christensen
Producer: Sofie Mønster
Coral husbandry: Sofie Jakobsen, Gabriel Ferreira

Thanks to

Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
Department of Biology, Copenhagen University