You are the Ocean

Ozge Samanci

This interactive installation allows participants to control a digitally simulated ocean using only their brainwaves. Calm seas and storms alike are powered by the viewer’s thoughts; the sheer act of concentration can conjure a squall or sunshine. Participants intentionally control their thinking while surrounded by the magnified consequence of their thoughts.

A participant wears an EEG (electroencephalography) headset that measures her approximate attention and meditation levels via brainwaves. Attention level affects storminess: with higher concentration, the waves get higher and the clouds thicken. By calming her mind, the subject can create a calm ocean.

Humanity’s relationship with the natural world is complex. Humans have a nervous system and perceive an illusionary boundary between their bodies and the rest of the world. A sip of water we drink was once in the ocean, a cloud, a plant. An atom in our body is billions of years old, coming from dying stars, and each atom has been a part of so many things: stardust, soil, sea, clouds, air, single-cell life, fish, bugs, birds. This concept appears in the holographic theory of the universe, different versions of indigenous cosmologies, Sufi mysticism, Big Bang theory and the history of evolution.

You are the Ocean is a collaboration between Ozge Samanci and Gabriel Caniglia.

Demo video:

Özge Samanci is an associate professor at Northwestern University. Her exhibition list includes FILE festival, SIGGRAPH Art Gallery, Currents New Media, The Tech Museum of Innovation, WRO Biennial, ADAF among others. Her graphic novel Dare to Disappoint has been translated into five languages. In 2017, she received the Berlin Prize and she was the Holtzbrinck Visual Arts Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin.