Immutable Swell



Immutable Swell is a sculptural representation of an ocean wave as it breaks onto land. The  artwork was created by extracting over 500,000 data points from a custom buoy sensor placed in the waters of Cape Cod. This data was combined  with my own own personal experience of swimming in the ocean to emerge as a complex 3D digital inscription of an ocean wave. By using software and motion analysis to observe the wave from a digital distance, I was able to distill invisible structures in the wave. Immutable Swell represents an opportunity for viewers to reflect upon the powerful and mysterious patterns found in the ocean.



Immutable Swell Sculpture. 3D Printed Resin 5” x 5”  (Displayed with Ocean Video Vitrine), 2018


“We do not uncover pre-existing facts about independently existing things as they exist frozen in time like little statues positioned in the world ... Rather, we learn about phenomena—about specific material configurations of the world’s becoming. The point is not simply to put the observer or knower back in the world but to understand and take account of the fact that we too are part of the world’s differential becoming.” 

----Karen Barad,  Meeting the Universe Halfway1.



Bruno Latour uses the term Immutable Mobiles to explain a flattening of reality that happens to scientific images enabling them to circulate globally—to become mobile, yet immutable. Its significance comes from optical consistency, a Renaissance visualization technique in linear perspective allowing the possibility of physical spaces and objects to go from one type of visual trace to another2.

The prescriptiveness of representation doesn’t box in the original data, however. A given representation of the data is only a referendum on itself, since the underlying information still exists and can still be looked at in an infinite number of ways. The Immutable Swell as portrayed here as the distilled moment of a body moving in a wave is not intended to foreground a specific conclusion, but instead it is asking for an emotional response from the viewer. 

Shown at Creative Turbulence, a group show in NYC at the New York Psychoanalytic Society & Institute feating work from Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, David McLeod and Berndnaut Smilde.







Immutable Swell Sculpture. 3D Printed Resin 5” x 5”  (Close Up), 2018



Immutable Swell Sculpture. 3D Printed Resin 5” x 5”  (With Ocean Video Light), 2018



Immutable Swell Inkjet Print on Archival Paper. 40”x40”, 2018




Immutable Swell Sculpture and Print. Creative Turbulence Exhibition NYC on View at the Helix Center
NYC, June 2018





  1.  Latour, B. (1986). Visualisation and cognition: Drawing things together. Knowledge and
    Society: Studies in th e Sociology of Culture Past and Present , 6, 1–40.

  2. Barad, Karen Michelle. Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. Duke University Press, 2007.