The Sea Around Us, 2022. Rebecca Méndez. Sound composition by Drew Schnurr. The Sea Around Us is indebted to the work of Los Angeles Times environmental reporter Rosanna Xia. Scientific Video provided by MBARI, the Schmidt Ocean Institute, and Dr. David Valentine. The views expressed by the artist are wholly their own.


What's it all about?

Creating an immersive 360-degree video art installation, Rebeca Méndez’s The Sea Around Us will transport viewers to an area of the Pacific Ocean located 30 miles from the Laguna Beach Coast, portraying the ocean as a fully animated body as well as a place of deep interconnectedness for all living things. Using scientific footage, the video shifts to thousands of oozing barrels of DDT on the seafloor being sampled by robotic arms. This hidden ecological calamity is revealed in conjunction with imagery that inspires awe and strengthens the bond between sea and viewer, inspiring the courage to face environmental wrongdoing, to take restorative action, and to avoid repeating transgressions against our natural resources.

The Sea Around Us has been made possible with the generous support of UCLA’s Council on Research Faculty Grant and The Chancellor’s Arts Initiative, and Pyramid Pro Audio Inc. 


About the Artist

Rebeca Méndez is an artist, designer and chair of the Design Media Arts department at UCLA, where she is also director of the CounterForce Lab. Her research and practice investigate design and media art in public spaces, critical approaches to public identities and landscape and artistic projects based on field investigation methods. In addition to her many great permanent public commissions, including two for the Metro Art Crenshaw/LAX project and three for the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Méndez’s work is represented in numerous public and private collections. Among them are the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Nevada Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Oaxaca in Mexico, the El Paso Museum of Art and Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. From 2017 through 2019 she served as selecting committee member for the Pritzker Emerging Environmental Genius Award.

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