The ecological crisis is a human crisis. Oceans must not be considered as flat blue surfaces which serve as dropping holes where we can let vanish all our anthropogenic remains. There are vast amounts of organisms that live down there and some suffer pain from our waste and noise. Many are aware of mammals such as whales and dolphins and there have been discussions about the chemical and waste pollution. But – often ignored is the invisible and the inaudible environment to us that is deeply secluded. Therefore, in this installation, we have created 3D enlarged plankton to be like whales. In addition, we amplify the noise as participants move closer to the animations to simulate how these organisms might experience and perceive this anthropogenic noise. This is a highly interdisciplinary artist led effort with biologists, chemists, nano-toxicologists and an animator all working together towards a common goal – to raise consciousness.


— Dr. Sylvia A. Earle, National Geographic Explorer

Plankton serve as one of the primary basis of the marine food chain and are as a result a crucial component of the Earth‘s ecosystem. Scientists believe that phytoplankton contribute between 50 to 85 percent of the oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere.

Current literature and studies have demonstrated how different noise sources influence large marine life with striking examples such as images of stranded whales and dolphins. However, little or almost nothing is known about the possible impact on marvelous microscopic organisms such as plankton and with the entanglement of micro-plastics, the ecological balance is further compromised.

Noise Aquarium utilizes 3D-scans of these micro creatures obtained with unique scientific imaging techniques and immerses the audience in the 3D ‘aquarium’ of diverse planktons projected as large as whales. With their presence alone, participants create destructive visual and audio noises, demonstrating how we are all implicated by our inaction. Noise Aquarium spotlights animated 3D-models obtained with scientific imaging techniques of the extremely diverse plankton spectrum.

Read more about the project from the Ars Electronica:



Linear Video

In order to present the project in as many places as possible, we have an version that is linear and plays as a video art loop. This allows us to highlight the importance of plankton, plastics and noise pollution in many environments.

Media Nexus, Singapure

Interactive / VR

In contrary to a linear video screening, an interactive installation adds layers of narration. The fully evolved project Noise Aquarium offers the participant the possibility to interact with the projection. This is an opportunity to let the recipients of the project experience the effects of noise and sound on the organisms at first place and more directly. There is a 3D-stereoscopic and a 2D version that we install depending on the technical possibilities of the venues.  In both versions the participant balances on a platform – out of balance creates underwater noises and when s/he is fully centered the plankton (bottom of the food chain) appear and we hear whale songs (top of the food chain).

Deep Space 8K at Ars Electronica


Principal Art & Science Collaborators:

Victoria Vesna | UCLA Art Sci Center

Victoria Vesna, Ph.D., is a media artist and Professor at the UCLA Department of Design | Media Arts and Director of the Art|Sci center at the School of the Arts and California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI).

She is currently Visiting Professor at the Empowerment Informatics Program (EMP), University of Tsukuba, Japan and Interface Cultures, University of Linz, Austria. Her work can be defined as experimental creative research that resides between disciplines and technologies. With her installations, she explores how communication technologies affect collective behavior and how perceptions of identity shift in relation to scientific innovation.

Victoria has exhibited her work in over twenty solo exhibitions, more than seventy group shows, has been published in excess of twenty papers and gave 100+ invited talks in the last decade. She is the North American editor of AI & Society and in 2007 published an edited volume – Database Aesthetics: Art in the age of Information Overflow, Minnesota Press and most recently an edited volume entitled Context Providers: Conditions of Meaning in Media Arts. (co-edited with Christiane Paul and Margot Lovejoy). Intellect Press, 2011.

Alfred Vendl | Science Visualization Lab – at Digital Arts department, University of Applied Arts Vienna

Dr. Vendl is director and writer with a background in chemistry.

Science and Research: Studies of Material Science at Technical University of Vienna, PhD, Research Scientist at: Imperial College /University of London, England, University Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, University of California – San Diego La Jolla, USA , Max-Planck-Institut of Metal-Research Stuttgart, Germany. Since 1981 Full Professor at University of Applied Arts Vienna, head of the Institute of Art and Technology, Associative Professor at Technical University Vienna. Since 2016, head of Science Visualization Lab Angewandte – Digital Art. Around 80 scientific publications in Material Science, Archaeometry and Art Technology.

Film and Television: Education as Cameraman in Vienna, Freelance Cameraman since 1968, since 1970 work for ORF (Austrian Television) as cameraman, writer, director, producer and host of scientific talk-shows. Writer, director and/or producer of more than 200 prime-time documentaries for ORF, ARD, ZDF, WDR, BR, ARTE, BBC, Discovery, Smithsonian, WNET, etc.

Computer Animation:

Martina Fröschl | Science Visualization Lab – at Digital Arts department, University of Applied Arts Vienna

Dr. Martina Fröschl studied media technique & media design and wrote her thesis about computer-animated scientific visualizations of tomographic scanned microscopic organic entities. The depiction of realities and biological phenomena has ever since driven her creations. She contributed to various documentary and fictional productions for TV and cinema as visual effects and CG-artist.
Her recent computer animations are based on scientific imaging data like µCT, MRI, SEM and light microscopy in collaboration with imaging experts and biologists. Currently, she is senior researcher at the Science Visualization Lab Angewandte at the Department of Digital Arts at the University of Applied Arts Vienna.


Stephan Handschuh | VetCore-Facility for Research, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna

Dr. Stephan Handschuh is a biologist with a technical focus on microscopic imaging and 3D visualization. He has a broad biological background in diverse fields such as evolutionary biology, comparative and functional morphology, microscopic anatomy, developmental biology, and theoretical biology. He obtained his doctorate in biology at the University Vienna in 2017. After a fellowship at the KLI Altenberg he became a staff scientist in the imaging facility at University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna in 2012. There he has a strong technical focus on quantitative microscopic x-ray imaging and 3D data visualization and analysis. Since 2010 he is also a member of the Science Visualization group of the University of Applied Arts Vienna, where he works on creating scientifically meaningful 3D models of microscopic animal samples.

Thomas Schwaha | Department of Integrative Zoology, University of Vienna

Dr. Thomas Schwaha is a zoologist with particular focus on animal morphology and evolution as well as imaging techniques. He studied biology with a focus on zoology, particularly animal morphology, at the University of Vienna and completed his education with a doctoral degree on soft-body morphological aspects of bryozoans, a not-too-well-known of colonial invertebrates. Since 2011 he has a post-doc position at the Department of Integrative Zoology at the same university where he is responsible for all microscopes and imaging facilities of the department but also is active in teaching undergraduate and graduate students as well continue research on primarily bryozoan morphology. Due to his strong imaging background, he also focuses on new developments in imaging and actively aids other researchers with new approaches towards research questions. Along with his broad teaching experience, this has allowed him to gain detailed knowledge into the morphology of various animal phyla such as e.g. arthropods, mollusks or annelids.


Ruth Schnell | Head of Digital Arts department at University of Applied Arts Vienna

Ruth Schnell is a media artist based in Vienna. Since 2010 she is Head of the Digital Art Department at the University of Applied Arts Vienna.
She has been working with computer-aided tools since the mid-1980s. Her corpus of work, which includes video installations, interactive video environments and light installations, explores the nature of human perception as well as the relationship between perception and the body. She is considered an expert in dynamic projection in particular. Moreover she has done pioneering work by investigating spatial and contextual implications of the after-image phenomenon in different series of works using LED light sticks.


Glenneroo | United Motion Labs

Glenn is a computer programmer, photographer and digital artist based in Vienna. He is one of the founding members of United Motion Labs, established in 2005. UML is an experimental lab dedicated to creating immersive audio-visual installations and Glenn is involved in every step of production — from filming, content creation, pre/post production, VJing, DJing, creating software tools, IT administration and handling photo, video and time-lapse documentation.


Paul Geluso | NYU Steinhardt

Paul Geluso focuses on the theoretical, practical, and artistic aspects of sound recording and reproduction. He is currently researching new ways to capture, mix, and process immersive audio for playback on multi-channel sound systems, recently co-editing “Immersive Sound: The Art And Science of Binaural and Multi-channel Audio” published by Focal Press-Routledge.