Océane Boulais, Maryam Ashroori, Brandon Leshchinskiy
Stone to Sea, (2019)
The land masses inhabited by 0.001% of the population are being swallowed by the seas because of carbon emissions the other 99.99% of the population has been releasing into the atmosphere for the past 50 years. The Marshallese make up a part of that 0.001% of the population. They are no longer talking about mitigating the effects of climate change. They have to survive the catastrophic effects of climate change. They do not have any more time. They have no choice but to build upwards on existing land, since relocation is not an option.
Poet and activist Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner uses her voice and words to create verbal snapshots of a changing landmass, her home, being consumed by rising waters. Satellite data gives us a perspective of this violent change from above and portraits of indigenous peoples allow us to see who is directly affected.
Using training data from NASA’s LandSat satellite imagery and a model set of Flickr-Faces-HQ portraits (pre-trained StyleGAN), we explored facial features amidst a changing landscape. Through multiple phases of training, a creative blending of visual motifs across the two datasets are created. Human portraits symbolizes the residents of Micronesian islander and satellite imagery of coastlines represents the progress of the sea over land.