Immersive installation.

Climate Anxiety is a non-linear sensory based narrative that reacts to brainwave and heart rate signals. In this way the participant is able to interact with the film without breaks in the scene or touching the screen. The story explores environmental science and climate change.


The installation was showcased in the context of CineGlobe Film Festival, on March 19, 2014; TFI Interactive Day, during the Immersive Week, promoted by Tribeca Film Festival, in New York, NY, in April 26, 2014; and Lift Conference, at CERN, Geneva, SWZ, in February 4th - 6th, 2015.

The Tribeca Hacks<Story Matter> at CERN brought together 43 uniquely qualified individuals from all over the world—including Brazil, the US, France and Portugal—for five days to work on scientific storytelling. The hackathon took place as part of the CineGlobe Film Festival at CERN, with the culminating event presented at CERN's renowned Globe which attracted an audience of over 150 people.

Climate Anxiety

To experience Climate Anxiety, the participant first puts an EEG sensor on her or his head to detect the brain wave signals. Next she or he enters a long dark box, which isolates the viewer and puts them in a calm and meditative state. Once in the box, the participant starts the story by placing her hands onto a heart rate monitor, which starts the video and plays a heartbeat sound that is synchronized to the viewer’s pulse.  The video is projected at the end of the box on a phosphorescent screen.

The story begins with a relaxing introduction and the participant is presented with three blocks of narrative, each associated with a different topic. The EEG sensor reads their brainwave activity level for each block of narrative and determines which block causes the highest neural reaction, or simply receives the most attention. The program uses that information to decide the next block. This pattern repeats for a given number of scenes.

Our aim is to follow the topic,  Earth, Ocean or Atmosphere, that the viewer has the strongest reaction to in order to provide them with personalized and powerful story. At the end, the aggregate values of the user's subconscious choices throughout the film are tweeted by @ClimateAnxiety on twitter along with a picture of the viewer and a randomized message such as “Vera is a friend of the ocean.”

The narrative was adapted from scientific research and data on climate change and the planet. Data from sources such at the IPCC report is included. The perspective was changed from that of a scientist reporting data to a first person narrative told by the different parts of our planet - Earth, Ocean and Air, representing the three non-living spaces in the planet. The designers hope the project impacts the viewers by creating effective and entertaining ways to communicate climate change data and increases public awareness. See Trailer

Storyteller / Filmmaker / Video Editor: Ana Carolina von Hertwig
Scientist: Erin Lamb
Designer: Charles Ayats
Blackbox: Alex Herrmann
Technologists: Clay Ewing / Oliver Keller