Performances and exhibitions concerned with oceans and coastlines, speaking to environmentalism, climate justice and community engagement

Your Ocean, My Ocean

Your Ocean, My Ocean (YOMO) brings together a transdisciplinary international group of artists and designers to create a series of intermedia performances and exhibitions. These projects juxtapose responses to the natural beauty of oceans and coastlines with responses to detrimental human impacts on marine ecosystems. Influenced by philosophies of dialectical naturalism, YOMO takes an integrative approach to exploring aspects of the human-ocean relationship, illuminating ways in which the human desire to transform our environment is unleashing destructive forces that endanger the world and everything in it, including ourselves.

Now available as a preview version, YOMO: Portal is an online project that enables viewers to navigate through dance, theatre and music segments responding to the natural beauty of oceans and coastlines, and to the potentially catastrophic impacts on ocean ecosystems from human activity. Currently in development, YOMO: Immerse will be an immersive media installation and performance featuring ocean and coastal locations, evoking aspects of natural beauty and environmental degradation. Live performers will be accompanied by a virtual cast of dancers, actors and musicians who appear in video projections. The project will include a crowd‑sourced social media interface in which visitors can submit their own images, short videos and text messages. These new projects are being developed by Eco ArtLab, an artist-led nonprofit, in collaboration with UC Irvine's Embodied Media Research Group.

Previously, YOMO: Intermedia was an experimental dance, music, media and visual art performance presented at UC Irvine in February 2019 and at Brown University in April 2019 (more information). Dancers and musicians interacted with processed video projections derived from ocean and coastal locations, and a related series of animated films was presented in a multi-channel video installation.


How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is quite clearly Ocean

Arthur C. Clarke

The oceans cover the majority of the planet's surface and are a primary line of defense against the effects of anthropogenic climate change. If carefully managed, our oceans' wild fisheries offer an essential resource for feeding Earth's continually growing population. But the oceans face potentially catastrophic threats due to human activity, including the effects of pollution, marine debris, hypoxia, destructive fishing practices, rising sea surface temperatures and acidification. With a sense of foreboding we note the developing crisis driven by the rapidly evolving human capacity to alter planetary ecosystems.

The YOMO creative team is inspired by the profound natural beauty of our oceans and coastlines, including the aesthetics of human involvement. At the same time, we feel a need to respond to the existential threat posed by the rapidly escalating degradation of ocean systems, embracing a multi-dimensional approach to the systems view of life in which humans are part of a larger, living whole. We are a synergistic group of creators with expertise in the use of advanced digital technologies for artistic creation. We also have strong grounding in traditional approaches to visual media, theatre, dance, music, filmmaking and design, as well as many years of experience with artistic projects that integrate all these areas.

As artists and designers deeply engaged with the emerging technologies of our time, the YOMO creators know (all too well) how a lack of attention to crucial values combined with unquestioning acceptance of rational thought can create an unhealthy dependence on ill-considered technological “solutions.” One of our primary objectives is to support climate justice through developing creative frameworks that honor diverse voices and cultural perspectives. We recognize that environmentalism is not a new movement – environmental activism has played a central role in the cultures of indigenous peoples and of brown, black and other disadvantaged communities for thousands of years. Our heartfelt objective is to honor and respond to diverse voices from different communities, nourished and enabled by our strong individual and collective commitment to artistic creation, performance and exhibition.

Image credits: Leandro Damasco, Robert Nathan Garlington