• Kylie Blair

Possible Futures: Explorations


Human-Jelly Relations through Immersive Media



Overview:


For my Possible Futures From the Future project, I have decided to continue focusing on environmental themes. In particular, I am focusing on the Anthropocene and human activity, loss of biodiversity, and climate change effects on the planet. For this project, I am looking at rising sea levels and the exploding populations of both humans and jellyfish. I want to speculate how these factors could impact our future, as humans overpopulate the land and jellyfish overpopulate the sea.


While both of my experiments will revolve around human-jelly relations, I am splitting my experiments up into two forms: a macro perspective and a micro perspective. One experiment will explore how jellyfish and rising waters will change how our landscapes and environments look and operate. The second experiment will explore how jellyfish and rising waters will reconstruct what it means to be human: for instance, how will jellyfish impact our biological, cultural, as well as emotional relationship to nature?


I am partitioning this creative process into various steps. The first step is conducting prior research on jellyfish and climate change. The second step in this creative exploration is visiting the Ripley Aquarium to learn about jellyfish, and document them through photos and videos. The third step is where I will separate the experiments: I will use collage techniques to 1) assemble jellyfish with landscapes, and 2) assemble jellyfish with humans. The fourth step is to use these collages as a jumping off point for scenario planning, in order to create scenarios and worlds for these visuals to take place within. A scenario will then be chosen, resulting in a micro design fiction elevator pitch. The fifth step is to use this elevator pitch to illustrate two new, separate worlds in Photoshop. These illustrations will be implemented into 360 video to test the immersion and resulting takeaways between these two worlds. The plan is that, based on which experiment feels more fruitful, I will choose one of these narratives, or combine different facets of them together, to create my final From the Future project.


Prior research: Jellyfish


Before beginning these experiments, I felt that it was important to do some prior research focused on jellyfish, as they pertain to climate change, ocean ecosystems, and human society. Below, I have bullet points of some quotes that I find important for this research-creation.


  • " ...popular beach resorts around the world are seeing huge increases in jellyfish "bloom" activity, a result of overfishing and changing water temperatures. " (Cripps).

  • " At the beginning of October, a large amount of jellyfish inhabiting a cooling-water intake at a Swedish nuclear plant caused operators to manually shut down production at its largest reactor." (Cripps).

  • " In Ireland, a jellyfish bloom reportedly killed thousands of farmed salmon, according to the Irish Times. " (Cripps).

  • " Although noting that significant jellyfish blooms "have been known since ancient times and are part of the normal functioning of the oceans," the report cites global warming and global overfishing (which removes jellyfish predators) as causes for exploding jellyfish populations in recent years. " (Cripps).

  • " Also known as the sea wasp and the northern Australian box jellyfish, the chironex fleckeri is possibly the worlds most venomous animal. Its tentacles can reach lengths of up to three meters long, while its bell is about the size of a human head. It can be found throughout the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific. A close cousin and fellow contender for the "world's most venomous" cup is the Irukandji, which is the size of a thimble." (Cripps).

  • " "Jellyfish occur in all marine waters from pole to pole and at all depths," says Gershwin. "The life threatening ones are found from about 40 degrees north to 40 degrees south latitude." " (Cripps).

  • " Gershwin says the explosion in jellyfish populations is a visible indicator that life in the oceans is out of balance."If we somehow managed to eradicate all jellyfish, then something else -- some other weedy thing -- would find a perfect situation," she says. "So the reason we should care is because they act as a flashing red light." She says there's no one single factor to blame for the rise in jellyfish populations, but rather places blame on a combination of overfishing, warming water, low oxygen and pollution. By fishing out jellyfish predators and competitors, humans are creating perfect conditions for jellyfish to multiply. "Sadly, I am one of a growing chorus of people who believe that, yes, it is too late to turn things around," says Gershwin. "So many species are in such low numbers, and habitats are so badly damaged, that restoring them to their original splendor is simply no longer possible."I believe that our only option now is to decide how much we value what we currently have, and to decide what we are willing to do to maintain it -- or at least slow down its disappearance. But honestly, can you really see all 7 billion of us agreeing on that?"" (Cripps).

  • “Jellyfish clearly have an impact on human activity. Besides fouling fishing nets, they invade fish farms, block cooling intakes at coastal power plants, and force beach closures. Some jellies pose a mortal threat. Dozens of people die each year from jellyfish stings, far more than from encounters with other marine creatures, including sharks. A box jellyfish, the Chironex sea wasp, may be the most lethal animal on the planet: Its toxin can kill a person in three minutes. Global warming may allow deadly jellyfish, now mostly found in tropical and subtropical waters, to conquer new turf in temperate waters as sea surface temperatures rise, warns Richardson. “It’s very likely that venomous jellyfish will move toward the poles,” he says.” (Stone)

  • “The elegant efficiency of the jellyfish’s structure may be one reason for the group’s diversity. Jellyfish bodies are at least 95% water; the remaining 5% or so contains the barest essentials needed to capture, consume, and use energy. Their method of locomotion, an elastic ring that contracts to rapidly expel water and propel the jelly forward, allows them to move more efficiently than any other organism. Their trailing tentacles brush against prey, immobilizing them and conveying them to the jellyfish’s mouth — after which the jelly digests its prey in its body cavity and subsequently expels the remaining parts of the prey through the same single opening.” (Lamb)

  • “The lack of complex physical features makes jellies extremely adaptable and the things that restrict other marine animals—such as temperature, acidity, salinity, light, or darkness—don’t faze them. They combine plantlike simplicity, animal-like mobility, and an almost bacterial ability to reproduce rapidly under favorable conditions. There’s even a species of jellyfish that achieves near-immortality by turning back into a polyp — a less mature version of itself — when injured. The polyp can then produce identical copies of the injured jelly and the jelly can revert back to the polyp again and again, indefinitely.” (Lamb)

  • Use of bioluminescence for medical research: " The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2008 was awarded jointly to Osamu Shimomura, Martin Chalfie and Roger Y. Tsien "for the discovery and development of the green fluorescent protein, GFP." " (The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2008).

  • (Paraphased) compound from jellyfish called mucin can be used in cosmetics, as a food additive, or in drug manufacturing (Fountain).

  • " "The GoJelly project will actively contribute to the newly proposed European strategy to combat plastic pollution while empowering the industry sector through the development of a variety of blue-green biotechnology products based on jellyfish raw material," says Dr. Patricia Cabezas from the European Science Foundation. " (European Science Foundation).

  • " Pedersen says it was "pure curiosity" that started her down a path of jellyfish culinary experimentation. But now that she has discovered an "embarrassingly simple" method for producing light and crispy jellyfish chips, the abundance of this food source gives her finding an added weight. " (Overgaard).

  • " We report the construction of a freely swimming jellyfish from chemically dissociated rat tissue and silicone polymer as a proof of concept. The constructs, termed 'medusoids', were designed with computer simulations and experiments to match key determinants of jellyfish propulsion and feeding performance by quantitatively mimicking structural design, stroke kinematics and animal-fluid interactions. The combination of the engineering design algorithm with quantitative benchmarks of physiological performance suggests that our strategy is broadly applicable to reverse engineering of muscular organs or simple life forms that pump to survive. " (Nawroth et al).


This research was important for me to begin to understand the subject matter I am looking at. While it was easy to find the rising populations of jellyfish, I also found it interesting that many scientists disagree whether there is an actual jellyfish population explosion, or if this is a shift in jellyfish from the depths of the ocean towards the surface and closer to land. It took me a bit more digging to find information about how jellyfish are used by humans. It's interesting to note that there are in fact both medical and more creative, cultural uses for jellyfish.




Jellyfish Photos & Videos


Here are a few example photos and videos from my time at the Aquarium:



A few notes about my time through this creative process:


- Once I arrived at the aquarium, I immediately noticed that, while I am fascinated by jellyfish, I was also drawn to some of the other colors, textures, species, and environments of the aquarium. I went ahead and documented some of them, in case I decided to incorporate them into my collages, or better yet reference them to hint at their potential decay and vanishment in the future (as fish and other aquatic creatures are disappearing in the ocean due to climate change, human impacts, and jellyfish takeover). I was particularly drawn to the anemone, which are also affected by climate change.


- I found it quite difficult to take good and unique photos of the jellyfish. I spent a lot of time in this area, trying to find different ways to capture these tangled creatures. There are a few reasons I found it difficult to photograph them:

- I am not a professional photographer

- I do not own a particularly great camera

- the lighting in this area is poor at times/ beautiful at other times/ harsh at many times

- the glass is smudged from fingerprints and (I believe to be) children's spit

- this area is particularly crowded due to many photos, videos, and selfies being taken


While I am happy with a few of the photos I captured, I quickly realized that perhaps using collage with only jellyfish photos was going to be trickier than I previously imagined, due to the limited number of tanks, colors, angles, and focused shots I could get.


-I also noticed that the jellyfish are alienated from ecosystems, in their own isolated, individual tanks, divided even further among their own types of jellyfish. I read many of the signs in this area, but I did not notice any that explained why the tanks were set up this way. I wonder if it's designed this way for human spectacle, or if it's in the jellies best interests? I'd like to know why the exhibit is designed this way.


- While I think this aquarium is beautiful and has some important information shown, I feel like there could be more information given to guests. The jellyfish area dominantly displayed information about the different species, where they are from, how they morph between different stages of their life, how they eat and how they live. My project is focused on jellyfish, but my focus is rather on their influence on environments and other species, as well as how they are impacted by different environmental changes. I realized after my visit that I would have to do more research outside of the introductory information given at the aquarium.


After editing these photos and videos in Photoshop and After effects, I began separating the media between the two experiments in order to being my collage process.



Experiment 1:


Macro scale: what effect would jellies and high waters have on our landscapes and surrounding environments?



Collages




A few notes about this collage process:


When sifting through the photos and videos I recorded during my time at the aquarium, I decided that I wanted to use photos of landscapes I had personally recorded, rather than use stock photos or other images on the Internet. This made the collage process more personal to me, because I filtered through many photos of my past and used various places that I have personal connections to. I really like this decision, because when I look at the finished collage, I find connections to different times and spaces throughout my life.


That being said, ultimately I found combining landscapes and jellyfish into a collage quite difficult. This could perhaps be due to the fact that I don't collage often, and I was trying this as a new technique. However, I also think this was because I was trying to make a connection between an individual species and a habitat. When I thought about this further, I realize that, when looking at a human body and our surroundings urban environments, the connection between our fleshy beings and concrete jungles don't blend visually. This caused me to include some pieces of the environment, such as anemones, fish, and underwater imagery.


When including these environmental visuals, I began to closely scrutinize different architectural and landscape structures, patterns and colors. I considered what might absorb water, and what impervious ground covering would do in a world overrun with sea water and jellyfish. Would there be movement in the waters, or would there be pockets of stagnation, leading to environmental hazards? What effect would this have on humans and jellyfish? Would higher roads be built, or would there be other ways of moving between buildings? Would buildings, as we know them, still exist?


I also noticed that the colors were difficult to match. The bright, vibrant colors of the jellyfish photographed at the aquarium do not match well with the more neutral, bland colors used in the architecture I had photos of. This caused me to consider, are jellyfish known by vibrant colors only due to our representation of them in aquariums? What would they look like in less structured environments? There became a sudden realization that colors and forms between modern society and jellyfish "fluthers" were very different.


Furthermore, I realized that visualizing "entanglements" between buildings and jellyfish was not as easy to imagine as I thought they might be. With rising waters, I can imagine knotted webs of jellies tangling with things such as trees, bushes, sculptures, humans, and other creatures, yet tangles between modern modular buildings and jellyfish become a bit trickier: I knew I didn't want to move too close to fantastical, with large jellyfish wrapping around skyscrapers. At this point, tangled meshes between various living forms became more interesting to me, rather than finding assemblages with stiff concrete. And yet, jellyfish do have structural repercussions, as they have impacted human infrastructure, such as a nuclear reactor in Sweden.


Therefore, I found this process to be difficult, which could be viewed as giving me both good and bad results. While I did attempt to collage the two together, I found the whole process of creatively assembling landscapes and jellyfish difficult. I wanted to draw out more imaginary worlds than those created through my collage process. Maybe that is the point: the combination of jellies and human society will not be as seamless as we might hope. It comes with a lot of contradictions that require new envisions of the future, rather than a mishmash between our present society and our newly abundant companions.



Scenario Planning


At this stage, I decided to use a scenario planning method from our class reading, Sohail Inayatullah's article "Future Studies: Theories and Methods." In this article, Inayatullah discusses a conceptual framework for futures studies titled "the six pillars" (45). These pillars are: mapping, anticipation, timing, deepening, creating alternatives, and transforming. For the scope of this project, I decided to focus specifically on the creating alternatives pillar. In this pillar, Inayatullah describes the importance of scenario planning, and gives various method frameworks that can be used. I decided to use Peter Schwartz's second scenario model. This structure has four dimensions (preferred, disowned, integrated, outlier) and additionally uses the four layers of causal layer analysis (Description (or "Litany"), System, Worldview, and Metaphor) (53; 57). Using this model, I created a table and fabricated 4 different scenarios of this world, with a focus on jellyfish, landscapes, futurist thinking and my collage:



I filled this table out with the information I know about jellyfish, and I decided for the rest of my experiment to focus on the integrated scenario because I am interested in entangled futures that are neither completely utopic nor dystopic worlds.


Design Fiction Elevator Pitch


Using the integrated scenario above, I created a short design fiction elevator pitch to create a story for my immersive world:


{ In a near future where the land is overpopulated by humans and the sea is flooded with jellyfish, these invertebrates accompany high waters to inundate coastal areas, changing the makeup of ecosystems, landscapes, and the structure of modern society.


While jellyfish provide progress through technology such as bioluminescence, as well as carrying carbon back to the depths of the sea, their presence in elevated, acidic waters change how humans live. Humans have moved to higher ground within coastal regions, due to high waters, soil erosion, and decaying infrastructure. They remain more isolated in the buildings they call home, as transportation has changed from a reliance on gas fuel to water transportation that uses a pumping technique similar to jellyfish. While this transportation is reliable and low energy, it is scarce and has created longer travel times. Acidic waters are dangerous to saunter through, from disease ridden stagnant water to dangerous jellyfish blooms. The landscapes we once knew have become new, contaminated sorts of alternate ecosystems, shaping technology, infrastructure, and the natural environments humans live among. Human and jelly lives are enmeshed in these decaying environments as the last two dominant species, yet they do not mingle with one another unless required.}




Illustrations


Next, I used this short fiction to create a rough illustration of this world.


When I first started this process, I found it difficult to draw a 360 illustration with the right dimensions and perspectives. Things did not match on the seams, and the perspectives were all off. I quickly relied on a 360 film reference. I used the grid (pictured below) to understand proper perspective points.


(A beautiful example of artwork like this is Jama Jurabaev's 2016 illustration, Chinatown.)


First test with 360 panorama drawing

Yet, it was still difficult for me to wrap my head around how to draw perspectives in this way (particularly because my background is not in illustration). After playing with photoshop, I noticed they had a 360 Panorama option. I knew photoshop gave the ability to draw onto objects, but I never realized it also gave artists the ability to draw panoramas while in an immersed view. This tool really helped me: it allows me to draw while in the space, and then export to a flat UV-like panorama. I used this method to layout the space, and then exported my line work to a flat UV. I decided to not color the illustration in the 360 view because Photoshop kept crashing when I would try to color with various layers in this view.


Rough line work for panorama drawing

Once in the flat view, I used the line work for reference as I began blocking in colors of the scene. Unfortunately, in this view you are not able to easily switch into the immersed view, so I had to hope that my colors and lines would match up on the seams. I decided to stick with flat colors first, and then build up the colors and details later.

Inserting colors in a flat UV mode.

After placing the base colors, I saved the UV jpeg image and then re-imported it into Photoshop as a panorama, allowing me to go back into the immersed view. Unfortunately, my seams were not perfect, which I suppose is a valuable lesson I learned from this experiment. While in the panorama, I started placing more details into the scene. Yet, I notice when in 3D mode, I am unable to use gradients, as well as glow and shadow effects, so if I want to use these in the future I will have to do them in the flat UV version. While I didn't put all of the details I would for a final piece, I thought this was a really interesting way to create immersive environments. In the future, I'd like to try adding more details or even potentially animating them a bit.

Final flat UV of experimental 360 illustration


360 Video


After completing the illustration, I implemented it into 360 functionality to test the scope, scale, and level of immersion based on my 2D drawing. The first step in this process was importing the image into After Effects, and adding some time to it so the file would change from a JPEG file to a .MOV or .MP4 file. In order for After Effects to properly render a VR file, it's important to use the VR conversion effect. In this, I set my input and output to rectangular / 16:9, and kept the file at 3840 on the width side. (While I did not use any of the other VR effects, there are also many more I'd like to try in the future). I then rendered the video as an animation file (which is very large), and then reduced it using Adobe Media Encoder as a VR preset codec. Next, I brought it in to Unity, and projected it as a skybox. Yet, I realized that there would be no sound or interaction, so I decided for this experiment to instead try a new technique: I uploaded it to YouTube as a 360 film. Through this process, I learned that it's not as simple as uploading it to YouTube: in order for it to work properly, it must have the metadata attached. This requires downloading a package from YouTube that places this functionality into the video. Once I went through this process, I managed to successfully upload the video to YouTube.



Overall, I am really excited by this experiment. I have never contemplated using 2D illustrations for 360 footage. Prior to this, I expected to use 360 footage or 3D animations to achieve this effect. I think this could be used successfully for storyboarding and graphic novels, as well as animations.


Yet, while I really enjoyed this process, I learned it is much more difficult than what I expected. On a superficial level, I feel like I still have some jelly-environment designs to work out. But more complicated is the notion that you aren't particularly framing an illustration like you are in more traditional ways. The role of the camera, subjectivity, and agency comes to play. This made it difficult for me to only draw the environment for this experiment, because the immersion without other humans there felt isolated and a bit weird, particularly in a place I have considered to be overpopulated.



Experiment 2:


Micro scale: how could humans "become-with" jellyfish in biological, cultural, and emotional assemblages?



Collages




A few notes about this collage process:


Similar to the last collage, I decided to only use photos of people that I had previously recorded for this collage process. While it also connects me on a personal level to the collage, I think it's interesting to note that I don't have as strong of a connection to this piece. I'm not exactly sure why: part of me feels that, because this was my second collage, I had become used to combining two spheres into one. Yet another part of me feels like it has to do with how I perceive individuals versus spaces - in my mind, spaces are static snapshots of particular moments in time and are frozen in my memory, versus individuals are evolving and (particularly in regards to the people used in this piece) they are always a part of my current presence. I wonder if I had used photos of family and friends who have passed away if I would feel different, or if this is just a difference in how I view people versus environments. It also felt a bit strange to be dissecting parts of bodies through collage and recreating new forms. Something about separating pieces of humans and jellyfish felt cold and less connected to me than cutting out landscapes.


Overall, I felt that this collage was much easier than the one before. I think there are a few reasons for this. First, this was my second collage, so I had already had practice cutting and assembling different footage. Second, in my opinion, there were more elements to play with. I could give a jellyfish hands, or a human tentacles. There were smaller pieces that I understood, as being human, that I could swap out between the two species. This was easier than swapping portions of buildings with species, because buildings at first feel like one large object. Third, the colors and forms of jellyfish and humans seem more similar to me than jellyfish and buildings. There is more vibrancy in the colors, and the organic structures seem to flow much easier.


That being said, I still feel that I am just scratching the surface of human-jelly assemblages with this piece. I think I am almost too close to fantasy in this collage, with jellies as eyes, multiple arm tentacles, tentacle fingers and jelly skin. While using collage to combine these species makes it overall less believable, it also gave me ideas about how humans and jellies would assemble in new ways not easily visualized through collage. In particular, I considered what bioluminescence, toxic touch, and buoyant clothing or evolutionary forms could do for humans in this future. While the collage only gave me ideas for cultural and biological futures of human-jelly assemblages, I still want to explore the emotional impact of a world submerged and crowded with jellies and humans.


Scenario Planning


Identical to the scenario planning method I mentioned above, I used the same framework for creating 4 scenarios that combine humans, jellyfish, futurist thinking, and the collage above, using Peter Schwartz's second scenario model:



For consistency, I am continuing my focus on the integrated scenario for the rest of this experiment.


Design Fiction Elevator Pitch


Using the integrated scenario above, I created a short design fiction elevator pitch to create a story for my immersive world:


{

In a near future where the land is overpopulated by humans and the sea is flooded with jellyfish, these invertebrates accompany high waters to inundate coastal areas, changing the makeup of human biology, culture, and humanity's connection to nature.


Among their expansive arrival, jellyfish brought many signs of progress to modern society: their bioluminescence is used for scientific research, to track cell movement in bodies for research on cancer and diabetes, as well as their collagen being used for rheumatoid arthritis. Humans have also harvested a particular jellyfish's "immortal" trait through genetic engineering. While this has allowed humans to transform back into their prior prepubescent stages throughout their life, it has also lead to an exponential human over-population issue. This has proved difficult to manage, as jellyfish blooms additionally altered the makeup of agriculture. Agriculture has had to rely on food that can withstand high salt tolerance, such as specific forms of rice and shrimp. Jellyfish have also become a more popular food source, but must be carefully cooked to avoid spoilage or toxicity.


Due to the high number of toxic jellies, water transportation and antivenom are difficult to get ahold of in coastal regions, and are primarily reserved for the upper class. Jellyfish are also a popular cultural symbol used in clothing for function, to move in water more freely, and fashion, as dried tentacles are recycled for clothing and accessories. Jellyfish are also seen as accessories in waterbeds, and pets at home. Human and jelly lives are enmeshed in these decaying environments as the last two dominant species, finding ways to mingle previously unknown to humankind.

}



Illustrations


Next, I used this fiction to create an illustration of this world. I used the same process as I did in my other experiment, except this time I wanted to focus on humans in an immersive environment, rather than a landscape.


Similar to before, I had a hard time drawing humans properly in this panoramic view. This felt harder than the environment, because the perspective lines weren't as handy as they were for drawing modular shapes. Complex, organic forms seem a lot trickier to draw in a panorama. They feel like billboards, with little volume, and the legs and feet never quite felt like they were the proper proportion or standing in the correct spot in perspective. This could probably be fixed if I practiced drawing, but during this experiment it was a bit frustrating.


Once I began drawing, I immediately felt stuck. Visualizing human-jelly relations based on current scientific research proved difficult. I didn't want to fall into a similar trap during my collage process of combining jellyfish body parts with human bodies. That seemed too fantastical for this futurist project, and not helpful for thinking about the very real potential of human and jellyfish assemblages and symbioses. Instead, I wanted to focus on research. In my research, I found information about medical technology, food, and bioluminescence technology. While implementing bioluminescence and food was easy, finding ways to visualize the more interesting findings (medical research) was difficult. Most of this research involves using jellyfish inside the human body, or for topical creams. This would be difficult to visualize without drawing an anatomical body, which I decided against for this scene. Therefore, I focused on bioluminescence primarily, as something emitting from the jellyfish, but also within humans (as a more literal example of bioluminescence used for medical research). I also incorporated some food elements, as well as some potential ways jellyfish could be literally used in fashion, or better yet inspire fashion designs.



Rough line work of individuals in flat UV of panorama

I also used this second experiment to try out a different setting. For this scene, I decided to illustrate a night setting and play up the bioluminescence. This was a nice way to cover up the difficult of drawing human figures in detail in 360, while also depicting various encounters between humans and jellyfish. While I think it's a bit hard to see due to the dark contrast, overall I like the effect of the bioluminescence only lighting up things in a jellyfish's vicinity.

Final colored flat UV of panorama

360 Video


I implemented this illustration into 360 functionality to test the scope, scale, and level of immersion based on my 2D illustration. It seems darker to me in YouTube, but perhaps this is just the overall effect of this illustration in 360. Similar to my prior experiment, I think this scene could be more powerful if it went beyond human-jelly relations and implemented landscape settings within it. Otherwise, I am happy with this project!






Reflection:



Throughout this creation process, I learned a few things about this subject matter, about my personal creative practice, and about how I combine these two elements together.


I originally started with collage to try a new technique out. I used it as an icebreaker to start creating. In all honesty, I think this was the least fruitful part of my experiments. While it was fun to create the collages, I don't feel like this technique visualized a particular depth of the subject matter that I wanted to reach. It became more of a Frankenstein experiment to combine different pieces together. It made me realize that futures and other worlds aren't usually things from the past or present literally assembled together- they are new forms, inventions, structures and thoughts that are based off of hybridity, but do not necessarily translate as literal combinations in a visual sense.


My favorite step in this process was actually the scenario planning. This was also a new technique for me to explore. I liked creating different scenarios of depth, and comparing them to one another. Without this technique, I think my narratives would have been shallow, and easily divided into utopias and dystopias. While I didn't use the outlier scenario for my experiments, I actually found that scenario the most thought provoking. Part of me wishes I would have done that scenario for one of the experiments. Overall, this technique made writing a short narrative much easier. It provided me a table that I could look at to reflect on what I wrote for each section, how it compared to other scenarios, where there were incompatibilities and holes in the story, and areas that i felt like there was rich content to play with.


Through both the written and illustrative portion of these experiments, I realized the most difficult aspect of these experiments. I originally separated the experiments out into two: one macro perspective, and one micro perspective. One about landscapes and settings, and one about individual species and their experiences. When writing and illustrating these experiments, it became extremely difficult to isolate these two spheres. It felt very incomplete to not have humans and jellyfish within the environment, or to not create a setting that human and jellyfish relations take place in. I think in my final experiment pieces, I somewhat failed at completely dividing the two.


One of the reasons I think this division is so difficult is due to the medium: 360 film feels weird to me if I am not placed in the scene as a subject. 360 film gives a sense of agency to look around and be immersed in the environment. Without other species, it doesn't feel subjective. It feels abstract and less realistic to me. Without a drawn environment, I don't feel immersed. I feel like someone has just wrapped an image around me.


Overall, I think this realization is in fact a positive realization. This project was about exploring species entanglements and their effects on the Earth. If I want to stay true to this theme, alienating species from their environment is counterintuitive to visualizing and urging entanglements and relations with other species and one's habitat.


Going forward, I would like to continue with this subject matter and the 360 film medium. One of my biggest changes for this project is adding some form of movement, may it be film collage, 2D animation, or 3D animation. Jellyfish have very beautiful and particular movements, therefore I believe I should highlight this in this project. I also want to add experimental atmospheric audio. I think both of these elements will help with the immersion element of this project. Overall, I am not sure if I will create this in YouTube, like I did for these experiments, or Unity and Oculus Spatialized Audio. I am leaning towards Unity, because I think spatialized audio could have a big impact on this project.


For the content of the project, I would like to still explore human-jelly-environment relations. As I learned from these experiments, I think it is best to have all of these components in one scene. I also want to entangle the three elements together in more nuanced, abstract ways. My experiments felt a bit too literal for me, which surprisingly felt less realistic to me. Therefore, I'd like to speculate an alternative future that plays with the different colors, forms, textures, sounds and movements of human-jelly-landscape assemblages, for a more experimental, abstracted view of entangled worlds and co-dependencies in precarious times. I think this abstraction could add an element of agency for the viewer, allowing various viewers to understand and perceive different things from the same piece of art, promoting different ideas for a future enmeshed with jellyfish.




References:



Cripps, Karla. "Jellyfish taking over oceans, experts warn." CNN travel. Last modified

November 6, 2013. Accessed November 5, 2018. https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/ jellyfish-taking-over-oceans/index.html.


European Science Foundation. "GoJelly project officially kicks off." Science Connect. Last modified January 22, 2018. Accessed November 5, 2018. http://www.esf.org/newsroom/ news-and-press-releases/article/gojelly-project-officially-kicks-off/.


Fountain, Henry. "Researchers Find a Use For Jellyfish. The Many, Many Jellyfish." The New York Times. Last modified July 17, 2007. Accessed November 5, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/17/science/17obse3.html.


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KYLIE CARAWAY