Nature is not natural and can never be naturalized — Graham Harman

Friday, April 19, 2013

Constance Penley 2


We partnered with Google Earth, NASA Globe. Online network for schools. Digital Ocean: Sampling the Sea, for 200 classrooms. Integrating students and teachers. Seafood in their communities. Trends in fisheries and ocean species. Data collection tool. Students can host and get commentary on their discoveries in Google Earth. Can learn about sustainable seafood choices. 

Sampling the Sea. We wanted students to be active. We wanted both senses of sampling. Taking pieces and mashing up, both senses. It’s a social media project with a marine science content! Won the MacArthur. A STEM project. 

Now it’s larger. Seeding the ocean with social media. Many people haven’t seen an ocean. Even fewer of us ever see under the surface. We are trying to create an immersive experience. I do love it especially given my work on fan culture. My colleagues are now saying “We are building a fan base for the world’s ocean.”

I want to briefly touch on a few things. Then we can talk in detail. We have been phenomenally successful with our teaching programs. Blue Horizons. Bio and media studies. Courses for 9 weeks in marine science issues. Narrative. Then produce stories with SONY HD equipment. We thought this would attract undergraduates but it also attracted graduates and students from around the world from the beginning. Students are very happy about that. 

Every top marine scientist can come to speak to our majors. Blue horizons was so successful we implemented the Green Screen environmental media program. it works with every on campus sustainability group and every local organization to make films about their concerns. 

Our students immediately went rogue. Right away the students made animation, fiction--not documentaries! The grad students from marine science and geography put a lot of pressure on the grad school of environmental science and management to create a 12 unit emphasis for them in strategic environmental communication and media. 

They did want us to teach our courses for them for free...because the students loved us so much. But finally they realized they needed to commit. They hired the people. 

Public Programming. Location, Location, Location. Panels on green movie production at the Santa Barbara film festival. Directors. Location finder for the Lord of the Rings. (Who did it in a cool way.) 

Most recently. Figuring Sea Level Rise. Playing around with “figuring.” How can we represent it so people understand its implications for the planet? How to represent those metrics in a way that is meaningful and persuasive? 

Conference. Human dimensions of climate change. Native Americans. Seeing themselves as the first stewards of the environment. As a way to renew the indigenous movement. 
Studying risk. UC president nanosystems institute >> social implications of nanotech. How do you get people to understand the risk? When what we are talking about is invisible? Critical players. 

We had a scholar, someone from NOAH (military) and someone in insurance. Law and psychology. Senior executive producer of NOVA. >> spirited discussion on how communicate these issues without fear and dread paralysis

Severity but in a way that allows people to try to think of some solutions

One question << this year: is figuring sea level rise the best proxy for getting people to understand global warming or climate change? Maybe humans are better than polar bears to be our face for the consequences. What are you going to use for your proxy? 

The last thing I want to say. I don’t think I’ve mentioned enough. The artists on our campus and whom we have brought in have been instrumental. Hands on experiences. To embody the issues. Artist and scientist in the Arctic. Scavenger hunts on campus. The sustainability staff were the most impressed! “That’s what art does.”

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