The Ocean Memory Project

The Ocean Memory Project is a collaborative network of researchers from across the Sciences, Arts and Humanities, for which I am part of, dedicated to exploring the intersection of Ocean and Memory, and advancing this as a new field of inquiry and creative expression. The hypothesis is that environmental changes are recorded in deep sea “memories” encoded via genetic and epigenetic mechanisms within organisms as well as physical traits within the dynamic structure of the ocean itself. Its origins began at the National Academies Keck Futures Initiatives (NAKFI) Conference on the Deep Blue Sea, from which a group of three cross-disciplinary seed grants connected together into a comprehensive proposal that was recently awarded a $500K NAKFI Challenge Award to fund ocean memory research until 2022.

Ocean Memory: Friday Harbor Laboratories Workshop -

September 24–29, 2017

Co-organized and led by original PI’s Tim Broderick, Daniel Kohn, Alyson Santoro, Margot Knight, Jody Deming, I was invited to attend this first session which was comprised of tutorials on cognitive memory, chemical communication in networked microbial communities, and genetic and epigenetic mechanisms, a day trip on a research vessel to observe how data was collected from the ocean, and brainstorm sessions to explore the dynamic quality of memory and what recall and forgetting in the ocean might mean. Initial ideas for possible collaborative projects were shared among the participants.

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Ocean Memory: Djerassi Resident Artists Program Workshop -

March 4-10, 2018

Co-organized and led by Samantha Joye, Melody Jue, Todd Michael, and myself, the second workshop consisted of tutorials such as scientific manuscript writing, science fiction writing, hands-on thinking through making sculptural prototyping, interpreting cycles in climate data, and signaling and memory. The group went on a creative tide pool exploration. Additionally during this time, collaborative projects among the group were further developed.


SAWTOOTH COllective: AUDIO and Visual Transformation of Cenozoic climate data from the Paleocene to the Pleistocene and beyond

Upcoming interpretations of Cenozoic climate data gathered by ocean and climate scientist Patrick A. Rafter.

Partners: Scientist and Artist Anna Davidson, PhD.; Research Scientist Patrick A. Rafter, PhD at UC Irvine; ; Ocean Explorer and Artist Rebecca Rutstein



Upcoming collaborative art installation.

Partners: Dr. Erik Cordes, Associate Professor and the Vice Chair of Ecology and Integrative Biology at Temple University; Ocean Explorer and Artist Rebecca Rutstein