We are all in the same boat is a biomimetic art installation that immerses the audience in an underwater ecosystem. It was displayed in Gallery360 at Northeastern in April—May 2018. Visitors interact with artificial organisms in the physical world to influence the underlying digital system.
The influence here is a biological ecosystem, made up of separate components that have differing goals and actions, but also interact with each other to form a whole. In particular, we were inspired by the life and relationships of the barnacle. The audience plays the role of an outsider to this system, disrupting the natural behavior of the barnacles and their prey, zooplankton. Barnacles will open up to feed or hide within their shells, and zooplankton masses will ripple in wave-like motions above them. The entire piece allows audience members to walk around the barnacle clusters and sit/stand underneath the zooplankton.
The installation features a PVC pipe prism holding up a wooden frame with 25 pulleys controlling a growing/retracting string net and lights, a small mat on which to sit on, postcards on marine biology information, and a combination of clear and white barnacles with animated mouths and lit up with lights, along with proximity sensors.
This was a yearlong process involving 4 months of research and 4 months of implementation. See our documentation for more details.