A near future version of Maryland’s Chester river is inhabited by turtles enhanced with cybernetic implants. Adapting discarded human gadgets to improve their abilities, the turtles have pushed themselves beyond their natural biology in order to survive a deteriorating ecosystem. A young turtle named Pim Skyshell is attempting to upload his species’ minds onto the Internet, where they can escape the dangers and limitations of the physical world. His ambitions attract the attention of Mesa Brightscale and Weldon Barrelback, who must weigh the benefits of complete technological immersion against their traditions and corporality itself.
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Zero Tide is a digital comic book that comes to life online and in an immersive installation. Combining themes of environmental study with dramatic science fiction, the story circles around a group of cybernetically enhanced turtles seeking to escape their failing ecosystem through digital experiments. Inspired by Aaron Krochmal’s research at Washington College, actual GPS data from Krochmal’s study of turtle behavior are translated into the comic’s soundtrack and physical installation. Pushing post-human theory beyond our own species, Zero Tide explores the ebb and flow of information, consciousness and environments.
The installation was displayed outdoors in Baltimore’s Ynot Lot, and later reinstalled in the Sandbox Gallery in Chestertown Maryland as part of Nature in the Dark, an art/sciece project curated by Marnie Benney.