Project

Micronauts

Copyright

Jeffrey Marlow

Jeffrey Marlow

Microbes are the foundation upon which life on Earth depends: they set the boundaries of habitability for all plants and animals and create half of the oxygen we breathe. Ocean-dwelling microbes regulate the global climate and could hold the secrets to the origin of life. Put simply, we wouldn’t be here without microbes, yet most people don't realize how ubiquitous and important they are.
 
The Micronauts project will overcome this concerning knowledge gap by building an emotional bridge. Microscopic creatures are, by definition, typically hidden from view, and the challenge of seeing them and perceiving their importance prevents emotional involvement and investment. Through an immersive, multisensory experience built around cutting-edge scientific discoveries, visitors—“Micronauts”—will venture into the dynamic world of ocean microbes. Aerial videography will provide regional context of the field site—Sippewissett salt marsh on Cape Cod—and a responsive, large floor projection will illuminate the frantic business of the microorganisms, as they go about their daily business of finding food, reproducing, transforming… View full description

Microbes are the foundation upon which life on Earth depends: they set the boundaries of habitability for all plants and animals and create half of the oxygen we breathe. Ocean-dwelling microbes regulate the global climate and could hold the secrets to the origin of life. Put simply, we wouldn’t be here without microbes, yet most people don't realize how ubiquitous and important they are.
 
The Micronauts project will overcome this concerning knowledge gap by building an emotional bridge. Microscopic creatures are, by definition, typically hidden from view, and the challenge of seeing them and perceiving their importance prevents emotional involvement and investment. Through an immersive, multisensory experience built around cutting-edge scientific discoveries, visitors—“Micronauts”—will venture into the dynamic world of ocean microbes. Aerial videography will provide regional context of the field site—Sippewissett salt marsh on Cape Cod—and a responsive, large floor projection will illuminate the frantic business of the microorganisms, as they go about their daily business of finding food, reproducing, transforming chemicals, and breathing metals.
 
The Micronaut journey will be the first production of its kind, enabling a better understanding of the ocean through its microbial foundation and connect visitors with that process of discovery in an innovative way, revealing a vibrant world they never knew existed. The project will be exhibited for the first time during the 2018 National Ocean Exploration Forum–All Hands on Deck on November 8 + 9 at the MIT Media Lab.

Team Members

  • Jeffrey Marlow (Harvard)
  • Susan Poulton (The Franklin Institute)
  • Benjamin Bray (MIT Sea Grant)
  • Keith Ellenbogen (MIT Sea Grant)
  • Craig McLean (MIT/WHOI Joint Program)
  • Raquel Fornasaro (Contemporary Artist)
  • Mark Adams (National Park Service/Painter)
  • Peter Girguis (Harvard)
  • Alan Leonardi (NOAA, Office of Ocean Exploration and Research)
  • Devora Najjar (MIT Media Lab, Sculpting Evolution)
  • Caroline Rozendo (MIT Media Lab, Object-Based Media)