Tamiko Thiel   Online Portfolio








Evolution of Fish

Interactive Augmented Reality Large Projection Installation, by Tamiko Thiel and /p, 2019

Commissioned by the Digital Graffiti Festival, Alys Beach, Florida, May 17th - 18th, 2019


European Premiere - OPENING 10 October, 19:00 - 21:00

Digital Art Space, Director Dr. Karin Wimmer, Amalienstrasse 14, 80333 Munich
Exhibit: 11 October - 30 November 2019 - hours by appointment only
 Mobile: +49/176/, Tel: +49/89/ / mail@karinwimmer.com

We will transform the Digital Art Space into an "underwater cave" made of very real plastic,
illuminated by our augmented schools of fish - and the visitors in the gallery.

Evolution of Fish, AR installation by Tamiko Thiel and /p, 2019



Evolution of Fish is an augmented reality installation that turns the surroundings into an underwater reef, filled with schools of fish. Visitors use iPads to guide the fish to swarm left and right - but the more they intervene, the more the fish turn to plastic garbage.

The installation includes large silvery Amberjacks, known for their love of debris, and colorful reef fish that will become more common on the Florida Panhandle Emerald Coast, as they migrate northward due to warming waters.



Video recording of Evolution of Fish projected on a house at Alys Beach for the Digital Graffiti Festival, 2019


Pan around two Evolution of Fish augmented reality projections, Digital Graffiti Festival, Alys Beach fire pit.


Playing around with the video feedback loop when you point the iPad at its own projected image



Threats to Ocean Ecosystems in the Anthropocene

Evolution of Fish seeks to playfully engage the public in a very serious threat to ocean ecosystems: ocean borne plastic waste. The links below are a work in progress as I seek positive responses to how this can be solved - or at least ameliorated.

Plastics have now permeated not only the earth's entire ocean ecosystem but also entered the entire human food chain and our bodies, with probable consequences for our health.

Plastic waste can range from huge sections of buildings and vehicles destroyed in storms to microplastics from abrasion, fibers from washing synthetic fabrics and tiny pieces from degradation of larger objects. Algae grows on plastics, attracting marine animals and birds who die when they mistake them for food.

Organizations like the Ellen MacArthur Foundation are forming broad coalitions, including governments and corporations, to rethink the entire plastics economy.

The problems include how to:

  • Eliminate plastics, especially single use plastics. Each of us can start by reducing our own use of plastics, but we need to put pressure on governments and corporations too. Greenpeace offers a "Million Acts of Blue" toolkit for with ideas on how to proceed. Some countries are starting to ban certain single use plastics already.

    "Bioplastics" e.g. from Lego reduce the carbon footprint of production, but are NOT biodegradable. Industrial farming of plants for plastics and biofuels can destroy the environment and push marginal farmers into poverty.

  • The Global Ghost Gear Initiative addresses "ghost nets" - lost or abandoned fishing nets - that make up 46% of the ocean garbage patches, together with other fishing gear (ropes, traps, crates, baskets).

    Hawai'i burns ghost nets to generate electric power. Companies like Econyl are trying to recycle fishing nets and other ocean waste into carpet and textile yarn. And Australian artists "upscale" the ghost nets into artworks.

  • Improve waste recycling and elimination. China is the largest source of ocean plastics - due to waste mis-management but also because until 2018 Western countries shipped their waste to China for disposal. The USA recycled only 9% of its waste, even before this, and is now struggling to deal with all of its waste itself - perhaps why there is a surge of interest in dealing with plastic waste, as the problem can't be exported anymore.

    Indonesia, with the world's 4th largest population and a huge total coastline, is the second largest source, and is finally starting to address the problem. Foreign aid for waste management in developing countries can benefit in many ways - e.g. learning from a town in the Philippines that "upgraded" waste pickers to civil servants.

    Innovative ideas upcycle plastics, such as this building in Taiwan (more photos here).

    There are newly discovered plastic-eating bacteria, but tinkering with ecosystems can often create even larger unforeseen problems.

  • Catch plastics before they enter the oceans (at the rate of one truckload every hour). Baltimore Waterfront commissioned trash wheels to collect river borne trash. Ranmarine is marketing their "WasteShark" internationally.

  • Clean up plastics already in the oceans: The Ocean Cleanup Project has received $35 million in funding and promises to "clean up all the oceans in 10 years" - but only addresses large pieces of the 1% floating near the surface.


Tamiko Thiel and /p, 2019