Ocean Memory Project

“The ocean is more ancient than the mountains, and  freighted with the memories and the dreams of Time.” – H. P. Lovecraft

Through a grant from the National Academies of Science / Keck Futures Initiative, Rutstein was invited to collaborate in interdisciplinary workshops with a diverse group of scientists and artists exploring a new line of scientific inquiry: ocean memory.

The Ocean Memory Project will explore the largely unknown world of the deep sea in the context of memory. Transdisciplinary workshops will spur innovative science and art projects that help us understand and communicate how changes in our global environment are recorded by the deep ocean and its inhabitants.

We hypothesize 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.

The first workshop took place at Friday Harbor Laboratories (University of Washington) in the San Juan Islands, in September 2017. The second workshop was set at Djerassi Residency for Artists in Woodland, California in March 2018. A third workshop at the Boone Center for Environmental Studies on Catalina Island  is being planned for Spring 2019.

Rutstein is currently working on proposals with her colleagues for multi-media art installations working with ocean temperature data through time, and exploring the degradation of corals in the Gulf of Mexico.

topo VII, acrylic and gouache on paper, 12x12"