The Strait of Malacca is the capillary of modern Earth. Every year, over half the world’s merchant fleet, half the world’s oil, and over 40% of global commerce pass through this narrow passage. For centuries, this sliver of ocean has captivated navigators, offering the most direct route between India and China, and a vast constellation of cultural exchange. To keep your head above water, however, is only half the story. Just underneath this massive web of global trade lies an even larger system— that of the Indonesian Coral Triangle. With over 75% of the world’s coral and 40% of the world’s reef fish, this ecosystem is widely considered to be the center of global marine biodiversity— just feet away from the largest physical network in human history.
Our project is an interactive multimedia piece about these two incredible systems. For the month of January, we will live aboard the Pelni ferry (known as “the Indonesian Bridge”) and chronicle our experience as we personally sail one of the world’s most highly-trafficked waterways. Aboard the 1,300 mile odyssey from Medan to Jakarta, we will be recording 360-degree video and binaural audio: two state-of-the-art technologies that will impart an incredibly realistic experience for our viewers. We’ll be capturing original audio and video of the journey, the people aboard the vessel, and the industries that interact with the channel. The footage of the Coral Triangle will also be original, recorded on an extensive Scuba voyage using specialized underwater equipment.
What makes our project truly groundbreaking, however, is its element of interactivity. We are personally inventing a new kind of digital video so that the user can literally lower the camera below sea level to experience the second half of this dark narrative. The viewer will experience firsthand the effects of hyper-efficient globalized trade and locomotion atop the planet’s most delicate ecosystem. This project is not exactly a film, nor composition, nor artist’s fantasy. It’s a series of digital installations that allow us to tap audiences in person, get exposure in the art world, and prototype for the ultimate goal: creating an immersive, web-based story-world accessible to anyone with a browser.
See also: XARTS Fund recipient project, Fin.
Ignition Fund Recipient, Fall 2015 and Spring 2016