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Fish Phone Booth Playtest

April 4 - April 7

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Fish Phone Booth

This collaboration with Birch Aquarium will unfold and build through different phases over the next year. For this first prototype at WOW, a small booth is transformed into a listening device where participants encounter ocean life at a 1:1 scale through a sensory experience of sound and touch. The audience can explore the undersea world, tuning in to signals within the natural and human-made ocean soundscape and responding with their vocalizations. Viewer choices shape the evolving sound mix, like a monitoring station or deep sea observatory. Outside the booth, people’s movements are tracked through the room, accumulating visual trails that echo the migratory patterns of sea life. This project brings research from ocean observation and the internet of animals to life, translating data from outside the limits of human perception into bodily and sonic experiences.

This is a one-person experience and may have limited availability. 

WOW Festival proudly presents this “First Look” project that gives you the opportunity to be part of the very first audiences. Read more here.

WOW In Partnership with Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography



Ash Eliza Smith + Robert Twomey (A Speculative Devices Cohab Labs Production) in collaboration with Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Click for more information about the artists

Ash Eliza Smith is an artist and designer who uses storytelling, worldbuilding, and speculative design to shape new realities through liveness, performance, play, and co-design. Results could be interactive stories, films, mixed reality theater, live-action role-plays (LARPs), and scenarios and prototypes of the future. Smith works across art and science, between fact and fiction, and with human and non-human agents such as animals, plants, and machines to re-imagine the past and future of technology, systems, and rural-urban ecologies.

Smith is a visiting fellow at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, and is an Assistant Professor at the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts. She is an alum of the Visual Arts program at UCSD, where she worked as an affiliate of the UCSD Design Lab and associate director of the Culture, Art, and Technology department after completing the Performance Studies program at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Smith has presented work at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD), the International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA), Qualcomm Institute (Gallery QI), and La Jolla Playhouse’s Without Walls Festival.

Robert Twomey is an artist and engineer exploring poetic intersections of human and machine perception, particularly how emerging technologies transform sites of intimate life. He has presented his work at SIGGRAPH (Best Paper Award), CVPR, ISEA, NeurIPS, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, and has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the California Arts Council, Microsoft, Amazon, HP, and NVIDIA. He is an Assistant Professor of Emerging Media Arts at the Johnny Carson Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he directs the Machine Cohabitation Lab, and an Artist-in-Residence with the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination, UCSD.

Smith x Twomey create emergent narrative systems and performative AI through techniques including collaborative co-production, magic circles, and participatory play for real-time performances.


Experience Hours

Thu, Apr 4: 4-8pm
Fri, Apr 5: 4-8pm
Sat, Apr 6: 3-8pm
Sun, Apr 7: 11am-2pm

Just Show Up Events

Enjoy this event at (almost) any time or between your other events! This event is open during the opening hours noted above. No RSVP needed.


April 4
April 7
Event Categories:
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5-20 mins

Patron Notes

Recommended for all ages. Participants will be required to step into a phone booth and be willing to receive a call on their mobile device. This is a one-person experience and may have limited availability.


Design and Innovation Building
9510 Innovation Lane
La Jolla, 92093 United States
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