The Game of Life at Sea

Technological advances in the last several decades have opened vast territories of the ocean to speculation and production. Emergent off-shore wind energy and aquaculture industries, among ongoing drilling and resource prospecting, are rapidly transforming sea space into a new blue frontier. Competition is fierce, and everybody wants in. The game has only just begun, and yet we can already speculate on the outcome.

Corporations are the players; while global governments talk of regulating the sea and defending its collective ownership and administration, the private sector's capital and influence vastly outmatch their ability to enact those edicts. Accountable only to shareholders and the bottom line, these actors compete with each other alone to divide and conquer the sea for maximum gains. They make their own rules. Out of sight from indigenous defenders, environmental stakeholders, and governmental oversight, the obstacles to profit and 'progress' are solely technological.

Among these nefarious characters, others imagine a blue frontier of new possibilities- to advance egalitarian efforts and reverse the damage already inflicted on dying oceans and ecologies. Off-shore green energy and sustainable aquaculture posit concomitant solutions to meet anthropic needs without borrowing against the long-term viability of the oceans or biosphere.

These competing parties- and other players yet to be identified- will undoubtedly call on designers to spatialize their opposing ideologies on the high seas. Anticipating their next moves, this thesis posits a series of scenarios to anticipate what an on-water future may hold. The game has already begun, but there may still be time to set the rules.