The ocean houses roughly 230,000 known species in waters that cover nearly 71 percent of the Earth’s surface. The wildlife of the ocean carries an abundance of information and knowledge around ecosystems, animals, plants, pollution and more. How often do students get to dive in to explore the expansive ocean? Today, we’re going to do just that – digitally. We’re going to dive into the depths of theBlu.
TheBlu is a global project inspired by the ocean to provide students with a place to create digital art, learn about habitats and environments and connect with others around the world. In theBlu, artists create 3D, digital fish based on specifications of real wildlife animals in the ocean.
Others can navigate between cameras throughout the ocean to tag, collect and purchase newfound species or art. In addition, artists and visitors can connect with others to share findings or artistic creations. It’s an exploration-based simulation that showcases artistic talent, oceanic knowledge and social collaboration.
Neville Spiteri, the CEO and Co-Founder of Wemo Media and theBlu, poetically describes the inspiration and drive for the development of the online ocean. He says, it creates a living, breathing environment that replicates the ocean on the World Wide Web. From the moment you dive in, theBlu creates a relaxing and inviting environment to explore the beautifully artistic expression of the ocean.
Major institutions including MIT Media Lab, University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, Carnegie Mellon Entertainment Technology Center, and The Art Institutes have integrated theBlu into their curriculums to provide students with an effective playground for digital art.
“It’s resonated very strongly with educators. It’s not only about art, but it’s also an educational platform about the ocean – the science and species,” says Spiteri.
Spiteri envisions theBlu as a place where students go to explore and learn about wildlife in the depths of the ocean. It’s a much more interactive and experiential learning space than a textbook on oceanography or marine biology.
“It’s a wonderful educational vehicle,” he says.
Maritime museums around the world have also sparked an interest in Spiteri’s project, seeing it as a supplemental exhibit to their museums. “Museums see it as a great architecture of art and science,” says Spiteri.
It draws elements from art, video games, and science to keep people engaged and interested in the material. People are interested in this notion of the exhibit at a museum. Yet, with theBlu, it can come home with visitors.
TheBlu can also tell the story of endangered species and global, oceanic causes to leverage exposure to students, artists and the general public. Soon students may be able to dive in to learn how pollution, fishing and more may damage wildlife and their habitats.
“It’s a lot more compelling than other messages,” says Spiteri. “It’s inspiring peoples hearts to move toward action.”
TheBlu currently remains a for-profit organization that hopes to bring true value to the marketplace by allowing artists to generate a profit from their digital creations, students to explore and learn, and organizations to raise awareness and funding for their oceanic causes.
The online ocean platform is the first project in a series of expected projects in the future. Spiteri hopes to create online, digital worlds for the land and air as well.
“We continue to see it growing and resonating around the world,” says Spiteri. “There’s a place in theBlu for everything.”