06/06 2024

The Sea Sees Us – speculative design workshop & pop-up exhibition

Metamedia Lab, News

Metamedia Association in collaboration with The Design of Visual Communications Department (Arts Academy in Split) organized a speculative design workshop under the title The Sea Sees Us. The workshop took place during the 26th edition of Media Mediterranea festival, from 27 May to 1 June 2024 in the gallery of the Association of Istrian Architects – DAI SAI in Pula, Croatia, and will be led by designer and marine scientist Skye Morét (Portland, Oregon, USA). 



While gazing up at the figures of the sailor and the swimmer, the ocean has a different perspective of time, of scale, and of interconnection. This speculative design workshop explored and connected us to our future on a blue planet through design that provokes and sparks engagement today. Many see the ocean as resource, as political, as carbon sink, as transportation, as refuge, as kinship, as potential cure, as wild agent, and as imaginative space. But how does the sea see us? When we invert the periscope and see an alien, cerulean volume, we know our human understanding pales in comparison to the ocean’s complexity. How might our finally taking the ocean’s perspective help us imagine the future?


Through a speculative lens, the workshop investigated critical marine thresholds, sensing devices, and imaginative frameworks of the Anthropocene with an ecofeminist and interdisciplinary approach. We engaged with empathy for a future ocean and its myriad inhabitants and interrogated the promise of digital solutions in an analog, aqueous world. From coastal Antarctic robots and Pacific deep-sea mining to Mediterranean plastic pollution, ocean farming, remote sensing, digital twins, and more, we employed speculative design to interrogate objects and materials within these scenarios and ecosystems from the viewpoint of the sea. We shared these interrogations in a final public exhibition and presentation that collectively asked, ‘In a radical ocean future, how will the sea see us?


The workshop resulted in six audiovisual installations that take us to the year 2124 to see what the world would like to be if the symbioscene now connects non-human and human beings into balanced collaborative communities. Covering the first successful communication in the year 2100, followed by other cohabitation practices, knowledge sharing in the field of medicine, daily life supplementation, and psychological well-being, human-sea communication is advancing. 


 These workshop outcomes were presented on the last day of the workshop, on 1th of June in the DAI SAI gallery and the program was followed by Blue Current a festival closing party at the club Kotač that hosted DJ Petar Dundov and local DJ Laseech.


Pop-up exhibition


Year 2124: Endangered Sea Creatures Underwater Summit


Opening speech:

Dear all underwater sea creatures, 

Due to microplastic and oil industry pollution, high temperatures rising, overfishing, chemicals and sewage leakage leading to coral reefs and animals dying, tremendous underwater ecosystem changes and marine species extinction, we gather here on the Endangered Sea Creatures Underwater Summit to try to find a solution for these alarming situations.


In order to change the circumstances leading to fatal ocean changes, we urgently need to establish connection and communication with the sentient and sensible human beings to join the forces in approaching this challenging problem from various non-human and human perspectives.


We, the Endangered Sea Creatures, have to act as Ambassadors of the Sea communicating our needs, problems, challenges, knowledge, possible solutions and technologies to our Messengers of the Sea—chosen human allies—to collaboratively create sustainable empathetic ecological symbioscene future.


Participants: Beluga, Periska, Vaquita, Tuna, Whale, Seal, Shark, and other respected allies.




Marine Climate Refugee

Tea Zbašnik


Welcome to the interspecies therapy clinic of 2124. As we have come to learn each other’s languages, we can now help sea creatures—both mentally and physically—with their experiences in everyday life. Mental health is important and communicating makes it possible to better understand the challenges of the sea species in the time of polluted waters and the rise of temperature. Humans are now able to hear, study, and then reflect upon understanding sea species. We can connect, and study new patterns, approaches, tactics, behavior, and solutions. We can recognize that both species, human and sea beings can share their tactics of living and inspire each other for possible solutions in everyday life.

The Research in Symbioscene University is here for you providing you with a safe space. 

You have come to the right place. Working together we can make it through.


Seaspeak 2.0

Ivan Đukez


Date: 21. March. 2109

“We managed to treat the South Atlantic for nine consecutive days. Even though the weather was rough, we were pushing the vibrations in marine areas reaching more than 800 km radius. We managed to record the response we received, but we were still unsure where it came from…”

In the near distant future, considering current technological advancements, we might be able to contact the sea as an entity, finding out it is conscious. Using vibrations as a “manipulation” today, changing the weather for example, using new powerful gear, we’ll be able to treat huge areas, dissolving trash, lowering temperatures and bringing balance and harmony.

The graphic and sound you are hearing is recorded “conversation,” the first recorded response coming from sea depths in 2109.




Nabil F. Almanssour


You are an elementary school student living in the year 2124. We have developed technology that allows us to proficiently communicate with sea creatures. But what do they have to tell us?

Join our video game characters Tea the Turtle, Ivan the Seahorse, and Ema the Jellyfish to find out about the history of human-sea actions in the 21st century! These historical events have reshaped the sea, ocean, and marine life in an era of intense global change. How did humans solve plastic pollution and overfishing? When did marine life recover from the harmful effects of pollution? How do sea creatures feel about their intertidal cohabitation with humans? By selecting a character and solving their puzzle, you unlock the answer to these questions in this future human-sea history game.


Interspecies Anthro Tears

Milica Denković 


This is the working table of the medical researcher at Symbioscene University. A scientific press release just came out about an important discovery detailing the healing properties of emotionally charged human tears which are beneficial to marine mammal animals in curing eye diseases caused by human pollution. This led to a medical product called Anthro Tears and the forming of Coastal Clinics providing marine mammals a suite of diverse health services. These clinics provide a safe environment in therapy rooms where human tear donators come to cry and donate their collected tears. How will this situation unfold? Humans cry from sorrow and distress, but it also brings them relief. On the other hand, they also cry from happiness and joy. So multiple therapy scenarios can be envisioned.

The speculative work Interspecies Anthro Tears asks several questions: What would happen if humans were in the situation the animals are now in the context of increased medical research and testing? I used eyes as context and tears as a medium because it is a softer and more probable scenario than thinking about an interspecies medical exchange like organ transplantation. Also, are humans in this scenario feeling guilt and grief, so tears become the mutual cure for both humans and animals? In the end, this medical solution still doesn‘t solve the cause of animals suffering due to human-caused ocean pollution, but it does alleviate the symptoms. Anthro Tears makes us constantly aware of their plight.


One for you, one for me

Matej Anđelko Bošković


In the past 100 years medicine has made great advancements, especially in pill-related products. For example, a pill has now been created for human consumption that is ultimately designed to help sea creatures. The goal is for humans to help sea creatures and coastal life, promoting cohabitation instead of just using up resources. Humans take the pill orally and, as it passes through their digestive system, the pill makes its way into the sewage system after which it makes its way to the sea. The sewage system already expels nutrients to the sea which fish live within and digest. The pill humans and sea creatures co-created is bioavailable to sea creatures and it detoxes them, removing the attachment of microplastics to their muscle tissues, which humans and other sea creatures ultimately eat. Large-scale human consumption is thus used for a positive change which is beneficial not only to humans but also to sea life.


Club Reef

Ema Čimbur


Welcome to Club Reef, an interspecies rave scene where the symbiosis of fun is happening! In this utopian scenario, humans and sea creatures have adapted to climate change and rising sea levels by transforming nightlife into a shared, harmonious experience.

Here, humans and marine life come together to celebrate in an environment where everyone can feel safe and included. The key to this unique club is non-verbal communication, allowing participants to signal if they want to be approached (consent is important!), ensuring that all interactions are respectful and joyful.

Dive into Club Reef, where the boundaries between species blur, and the depths of the sea become a playground for unity and joy.




Coordinator: Andrea Vidović

Workshop assistants: Nastasja Miletić, Marta Horvat

Photography: Samantha Kandinsky, Nastasja Miletić

Design: Oleg Šuran



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