Visitors to Oceanic Scales explore their role in maintaining a stable ocean ecology through a multi-sensory, interactive art & science puzzle inspired by the microorganisms of the sea. The hope is to encourage change toward sustainable living practices and social change by engaging the public to reflect on and perhaps better understand how we impact the environment at local and global scales. Light, scent, sound and touch will inspire new ways of thinking about ocean health.

Oceanic Scales is a place to learn and collaborate, as a lens focused on phytoplankton, the first link in the oceanic food chain. Created to explore biomimicry as a root of inspiration. Oceanic Scales breathes and glows with a pulse as a barometer of local ocean health and stability exploring the tipping point between humanities desires and the oceans needs. Developed to illustrate the role of phytoplankton as an essential, interconnected part of our planetary ecosystem, it allures with the promise of new understanding and empathy.

The physical structure is ecologically minded, built with local bamboo plywood and pine resin, corn plastic 3D printed forms, recycled cardboard, natural latex rubber, solar power and a living component of native plant species. An interdisciplinary team of faculty and students from Digital Arts & New Media, Film & Digital Media, Marine Biology, Ecology, Computer Science and Engineering at UCSC came together to make this idea possible. Gene Felice, Jennifer Parker and the OpenLab Research Center and Coaction Lab have given their creativity, time and effort to see this project through to completion. Students received access to equipment, experience, training and new inspiration as well as greater understanding of the natural systems that we have a responsibility to maintain.