Beniamina 360

Beniamina 360

Experience an interactive 360º multimedia tour of an extraordinarily tiny, low-lying seaweed farming island community in the Solomon Islands

Honiara | Started on 15/06/2023

SOS Beniamina is a web-based 360º environment that invites viewers on computers, mobile devices or VR headsets to explore the extraordinary but precarious existence of Solomon Islanders living on the front line of a climate crisis they did not cause. Accelerating Pacific Ocean sea level rise laps at their feet as smallholder families there tend to their seaweed, a precious carbon sink. The interactive experience addresses climate justice and how those least responsible for climate change are feeling the brunt of it. These Solomon Islanders farm seaweed: a sustainable crop that draws down CO₂. Yet their home is disappearing under sea level rise of 7-10mm per year, 3x the global average, as the climate crisis worsens. The interactive 360º panorama begins with the beauty of this fragile atoll, capturing audiences’ curiosity and inviting them in to explore.

The work borrows an early Renaissance technique (used by Hieronymus Bosch and others) known as the ‘elevated vantage point’. Here, drone technology elevates our perspective above that of daily human experience to present us with a heightened viewpoint, suggestive of a moral choice. Today’s generation is the last that can prevent catastrophic climate change; we perhaps need a renaissance in our ways of representing & perceiving our planet’s interconnectedness. SOS Beniamina was produced in collaboration with the island community, who asked me to create a work which would show the world the precariousness of their situation. (Within a few months of making the work the house behind the children was washed away; its family have become refugees). Despite living a carbon negative existence the islanders are existentially affected by actions a world away.

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Editor’s Note: All information published as submitted by the author(s). Minor edits may have been made to increase readability and understanding.