UpSea Down x UNESCO

Experience the future of our ocean: a multi-sensory, traveling, interactive and digital installation to raise awareness of sea level rise through gamification.

UpSea Down is a travelling interactive installation on the past and future projection of sea level rise designed and developed for the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO and the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe. 

The experience gives emphasis to one of the public's least known causes of sea level rise: the thermal expansion of water molecules which cause the increase of the volume to the water body. As the temperature rises, water molecules become more and more distant from each other, thus occupying more space, and becoming one of the main causes of rising sea levels.

Thanks to the collaboration between a designer, a marine scientist and an art developer, through UpSea Down, the user becomes the protagonist of the change in sea level, air and water temperature. In this way, people are able to navigate through time from 1960 to 2100 using a 3D printed cursor and, thanks to the visual showed in the screen, he/she becomes aware of the relation existing between temperature and rise in the water level

One of the most important consideration done starting from the design of the project was the involvement of people's emotional level. The solution developed considering the necessities of the client and the briefing was aimed at activating 3 out of 5 senses: touch, hearing, and sight. Real-time auditory, tactile and visual responses are associated with improving or worsening temperature parameters. On one extreme of the timeline, where there is a lower temperature, people can experience calmness through soft sound, calm sea and blue colors; on the other extreme, recognised being based on future projection, people can experience a feeling of anxiety and urgency through loud sounds, a stormy sea and a warmer sky.

The interactive installation is made using modular electronic instruments and cardboard components and supports, in line with the design of the IOC-UNESCO Ocean&Climate Village exposition where the installation is showed. UpSea Down is designed to be replicated, integrated and updated considering the future needs of the client and the larger “Ocean&Climate Village” exhibition organised by IOC-UNESCO.

Art can be a tool for dissemination because it brings the public closer to the world of science, which is often complex for non-experts. UpSea Down responds to the need to transmit visually, with simplicity and immediacy, an important amount of data, to show the meaning and effects of sea level rise in a way that is accessible to all, including younger generations.

The actual data used in the UpSea Down installation comes from the report “Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis” published in 2021 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), NASA, NOAA and Copernicus database. Data are processed live by software to visually represent the change in sea level and temperature over a time period ranging from 1960 to 2100. 

UpSea Down was exposed at: Triennale Milano (2021), Venice Arsenale (2022), Salone Nautico di Venezia - Venice Boat Show (2022), Naples (2023).

Made in collaboration with Valentina Lovat, IOC-UNESCO Ocean Literacy Consultant, and Davide Santini, Art Developer.