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The immersive experience Sounds of the Ocean has been presented during the Ocean Decade Conference held in Barcelona.

Directed by composer and activist Joshua Sam Miller, alongside co-director Elise Lein, art and sustainable awareness come together to showcase the power that resides beneath the waters. Through music, the experience enhances the sounds that coexist in the ocean and strives to foster ethical thinking to protect it. In doing so, they have succeeded in forging partnerships with sustainable organizations and artists because, “wherever we live, we are all surrounded by oceans”.

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Firstly, how did the idea of merging art and sustainability in the Sounds of the Ocean project come about?

Joshua Sam Miller: Given the magic of the ocean, to me, this was a natural fit to merge art & sustainability. I believe that art has the power to inspire audiences in a very special way, so to connect my musical practice with an environmental focus is very rewarding to me personally. Moreover, I hope this project inspires more artists to devote themselves to something they believe in supporting such as the environment. 

What role does music and sound play in people’s inner connection with the ocean? 

J.S.M: I believe that most people are not aware of the incredible power of sound, especially underwater. For example, sound travels over ten times faster underwater than above the surface, which means it also travels much farther as well. In this way, once we can develop this understanding of sound in general, it can unlock wonderful benefits for us to enjoy on a daily basis. Moreover, the sounds of humpback whales demonstrate an enchanting underwater world that most of us only dream of experiencing. Their language is a mystery to us and yet we find it totally fascinating ever since the first recordings came out in the 1970s. Before this time, indigenous populations have been respecting whale communities for thousands of years, and in doing so, developing a symbiotic relationship with the Ocean.


Following the sound of the whales.

How have you established collaborations with organizations like Ocean Beer or Sea Shepherd? 

J.S.M: We have been very lucky to receive the support of many organizations working in the ocean space. We sell Ocean Beer at our events to offer our audience an alternative to more mainstream beverages, with all profits of the drink sales going to support Ocean conservation projects. On the other hand, our collaboration with Sea Shepherd, Whale and Dolphin Conservation and Oceanic Global offers us direct ways to guide our audiences to learn more about ways they can get involved in ocean cleanup work on a personal level. Our current tour in Germany is being run in partnership with Everwave, where every ticket sold prevents 1KG of plastic from entering the ocean. 

Which artists have collaborated to produce the documentary? 

J.S.M: Our immersive experience includes a global network of artists to help tell the story of ONE Ocean. Our filmmakers come from California, Hawaii, Costa Rica and the Czech Republic. Who contributed both underwater and drone footage of the ocean to help us tell our story. The experience also includes original water and oil based artwork from three brilliant visual artists, Antoni Oilhack & Cindy Soap in France and Akiko Nakayama in Japan. Their work allows us to gently arrive into the space and surface with grace. 


The dolphin, another of the marine animals that complements the experience directed by Joshua Sam Miller.

Why have you selected the sounds of whales and dolphins?

J.S.M: I first heard these sounds at the Monterey Bay Aquatic Research Institute in California from my colleague Dr. John Ryan and was absolutely mesmerized by the power of what whales and dolphins have to say. In this moment, I felt a deep calling to make these recordings more accessible for others to hear and I devoted myself as a musician to raise awareness around this important issue. It was a kind of obsession and path I just had to explore at that time in my life, and I am so grateful to have discovered these beautiful underwater sounds. 

Finally, on which platforms can the documentary be heard and watched? 

J.S.M: Our experience is currently touring planetariums, science centers and theaters globally. We also perform live at concert halls, fundraising events and UN Climate Conferences. Besides, in the future, we plan to release more content online via streaming based platforms and for now we host music on Spotify and on our website

Five questions: 

  • Special place to connect with nature: Diving in the Ocean 
  • Favorite musical instrument: Handpan 
  • Color that represents you: Blue 
  • Daily habit: Practicing an Instrument 
  • A sound that brings you peace: Blue Whale
Noelia Fernández

Journalist passionate about culture, literature, arts and travel. I am interested in being able to listen to others and immerse myself in their stories, seeking the essence of each experience and giving voice to many that are not heard. I have been writing for Horse since June 2021.