Maryam Ashoori, Oceane Boulais, 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 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 StyleGAN pre-trained on faces, we explored facial features amidst a changing landscape. The model was presented with a set of human portraits symbolizing the residents of Micronesian islander, followed by satellite imagery of coastlines representing the progress of sea over land. The choice of when to switch between phases, as well as the selection of training data and hyperparameters were made based on their ability to produce creative results.