An art and technology project concerned with oceans and coastlines, speaking to environmentalism, climate justice and community engagement

Your Ocean, My Ocean

An ongoing art and technology project project concerned with oceans and coastlines, speaking to environmentalism, climate justice and community engagement

Your Ocean, My Ocean (YOMO) brings together a transdisciplinary group of artists and designers in series of intermedia performances and exhibitions responding to the natural beauty of oceans and coastlines, as well as to detrimental human impacts on ocean ecosystems. YOMO explores aspects of the human-ocean relationship to demonstrate and illuminate ways in which the human desire to transform our environment is unleashing destructive forces that endanger the world and everything in it, including ourselves.

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. Dancers and musicians performed in an immersive environment featuring ocean and coastal locations, evoking aspects of natural beauty and environmental degradation. A larger virtual cast appeared in video projections, and a related series of animated films were presented in a multi-channel video installation.

Currently in development, YOMO/ME is a new experiential public art project incorporating media materials derived from YOMO performances and exhibitions, featuring a crowd-sourced social media interface through which visitors can submit their own images, short videos and text messages. Submissions to YOMO/ME and associated workshops will create an evolving online presence connecting YOMO creators with voices and perspectives from a diverse mix of community contributors.

Related projects include Coastal Harmonics, a music and video performance by violinist Mari Kimura and intermedia artist John Crawford, presented in June and July 2019 at festivals in Rome and Siena, Italy.

We are seeking opportunities to further develop the YOMO concept through workshops, exhibitions and performances.


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 ocean acidification. With a sense of foreboding we note the developing planetary crisis driven by the rapidly evolving human capacity to alter planetary ecosystems, particularly our oceans and coastlines.

As artists deeply engaged with 21st-century technologies, we have a passionate desire to respond to these crucial issues. We 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 goals in this project is to contribute to climate justice by developing a creative framework that honors 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.

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 the need to respond to the existential threat posed by the rapidly escalating degradation of ocean systems. While we are privileged to be operating within an elite university research environment, where we can draw upon the knowledge and experience of leading researchers, scientists and scholars, we also want to engage with a wide range of communities around this theme, eliciting insights from a diverse mix of participants including different cultures, ages, races, genders, income levels and life experiences.

Considering these ambitious goals, how can we engage with these diverse communities most effectively? Our creative team collectively has strong grounding in traditional aesthetics and craft, including musical composition, choreography, visual media, architecture and design, plus experience with in performing arts projects that integrate all these areas. We also all have considerable expertise in the use of advanced digital technologies for artistic performance. The deployment of such technologies in our creative process will provide fertile ground for connections with diverse communities. Using participatory workshops as well as social media, we want to reach out to individuals and groups, inviting participation through online submissions of images, short videos and text reflections, which will be carefully curated and integrated into the YOMO performances and exhibitions.

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.


University of California, Irvine

Experimental Media Performance Lab
Contemporary Arts Center
February 6–9, 2019

Brown University

Granoff Center
Providence, RI
April 1–2, 2019

YOMO/Intermedia Creative Team

Director & Media Design
John Crawford

Composer & Violinist
Mari Kimura

Scenic Design
Dipu Gupta
Jesse Colin Jackson
Madison Russ
Anya Drozd

Creative Consultant
Kyna Leski

Lindsay Gilmour
Molly Lynch
Lisa Naugle
Tong Wang

Lighting Design
Morgan Embry

Costume Design
Ashton Montgomery

Spoken Word Director
Jane Page

Technical Director
Bruce Warner

Stage Manager
Jessica Keasberry

Media Design Assistant
Hannah Tran

Leandro Damasco

Costume Shop Manager
Julie Keen-Leavenworth

UC Irvine Performances

Edgar Aguirre, Hannah Albin, Emma Andres, John Barclay, Jacqueline Campos, Emily Coan, Elise Holmes, Katherine Lingle, Emily McKeon, Morgan Rice, Jessica Richards, Sadie Sandoval, Bailey Spelman, Sophia Vangelatos

Lighting Design & Production Assistant
Shelby Thach

House Manager & Scenic Design Assistant
Gretchen Ugalde

Scenic Design Assistant
Brandon PT Davis

Lighting Design Assistant
Sonya Wong

Video Performers
Sarajane Bradford, Eriel Brown, Robin Buck, Erika Clark, Ebett Cruz, Marcy Froehlich, Anica Garcia-DeGraff, Tyler Garcia, Sena Hernandez, Leah Jackson, Amilcar Jauregui, Kayla Kearney, Crystal Kim, Jalon Matthews, Sophia Metcalf, Robyn O'Dell, Molly O'Donnell, Malik Proctor

Costume Design Assistant
Kathryn Jug

3D Printing Assistants
Tucker Moody, Ivette Morales, Josh Park

xMPL Crew
Brenda Chow, Victoria Gallegos, Brandon Garcia, Adonijah Green, Rebekah Li, Aaron Miller, Melody Ni, Veronica Preciado, Kathryn Robles, Xion Rose

UCI/RISD Art & Design Collaboratory

UC Irvine and Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) are establishing the Art & Design Collaboratory, an educational exchange program connecting the two institutions, with coursework and other activities centered on specific topics and themes. UCI and RISD students and faculty are working together online, and also traveling between the two campuses for workshops, exhibitions and performances. In Fall 2018, the YOMO Studio course in RISD's Architecture Department, led by Professor Kyna Leski, studied unintended consequences of human interventions in the ocean environment, with coursework and student projects centered on the YOMO concept. RISD students created scenic elements for YOMO/Intermedia and produced a series of animations derived from their investigations of the chains of human activities that affect marine ecosystems.

YOMO Studio 2018
Anushka Bansal, Yinru Chen, Eleni Contis, Anya Drozd, Lisa Marie Gerdes, Yong Jin Jo, Dewen Ju, Madison Russ, Danni Yang, Yi Qin Zhang

With Support From

Opus Foundation & Stacey Nicholas
Rhode Island School of Design
Brown Arts Initiative
UCI Office of Research
UCI Illuminations
UCI Claire Trevor School of the Arts
California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology
Produced By
Institute for 21st Century Creativity (21C)


    John Crawford, Director


Image credit: Besir Oz