WexCast: Hope Ginsburg, Gina Siepel, and Sara Smith on Meditation Ocean

Melissa Starker & Honour Lackey

Feb 23, 2024

Two people sit in a dark gallery space looking at large, curved screens holding video shot underwater.

Enjoy a conversation inspired by the Spring 2023 exhibition Meditation Ocean with artists Hope Ginsburg, Gina Siepel, and Sara Smith, and check out a new report that considers the show's climate impact.


For this episode of WexCast, we hear from Hope Ginsburg, who conceived and directed the spring 2023 Wex exhibition Meditation Ocean, and some of her collaborators within the Meditation Ocean Constellation, Sara Smith and Gina Siepel.  

 While Meditation Ocean left the Wex in July 2023, a recent Climate Impact Report on the exhibition for the collective Artists Commit brought to light the resources saved and emissions reduced through sustainability strategies between the artists’ and the Wex. These include elements like a longer rotation period for the installation, and the seating within the space. With sustainability and environmental connection in mind, we revisit the Meditation Ocean Constellation, learning more about biological interconnectedness not just through Meditation Ocean, but through  Smith’s project Inside the Breath: INT (In Network Time) and Siepel’s work To Understand a Tree.  Together, they consider the intersections of their work and the breathing practices that weave them together. They discuss what it means to be present, to sit in awareness of an environment and its ties to human history, and to understand one’s exchanges with the natural world.  



Melissa Starker: This is WexCast, from the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University. I’m Melissa Starker, Creative Content & PR Manager. For this episode, we hear from Hope Ginsburg, who conceived and directed the spring 2023 Wex exhibition Meditation Ocean, and some of her collaborators within the Meditation Ocean Constellation, Sara Smith and Gina Siepel.  
While Meditation Ocean left the Wex in July 2023, a recent Climate Impact Report on the exhibition for the collective Artists Commit brought to light the resources saved and emissions reduced through sustainability strategies between the artists’ and the Wex. These include elements like a longer rotation period for the installation, and the seating within the space. With sustainability and environmental connection in mind, we revisit the Meditation Ocean Constellation, learning more about biological interconnectedness not just through Meditation Ocean, but through  Smith’s project Inside the Breath: INT (In Network Time) and Siepel’s work To Understand a Tree. Together, they consider the intersections of their work and the breathing practices that weave them together. They discuss what it means to be present, to sit in awareness of an environment and its ties to human history, and to understand one’s exchanges with the natural world. Let's listen.

Hope Ginsburg: So I am going to start with meditation, ocean and the projects you're all currently working on and the connective tissue with these projects.

Well, as a starting off point, I will introduce Meditation Ocean, which is the large collaborative project that has really brought us all into dialogue today. Meditation Ocean has been on view at the Wexner Center since February. It's the result of an artist residency award and was made in the studio at the Wexner Center. And the project is credited to the Meditation Ocean Constellation. And Gina, Sara and I are all members of this constellation. So the project itself, which is a climate justice project anchored in meditation and terrestrial action. So underwater mindfulness practice, and then collective gatherings and actions on land is built as an ecology and that is meant to reflect the kind of shared resources decentering of the eye that it aims to transmit. And I know that these are concerns that run through each of our large scale projects. 

Each of our projects, we're dealing kind of implicitly and often explicitly with notions of empathy, practice, and compassion. And things come up for me in terms of things that the work is proposing and then also things that the projects enable us to practice modeling through the process of making them. So we are coming together today as members of the Meditation Ocean Constellation, but each as artists that are visioning large scale, project-based collaborative works. And I know also that Gina and Sara have a collaboration between the two of them. So maybe with that intro of MO, I will pass the mic to Gina first.

Gina Siepel: Great, thanks so much, Hope. My name's Gina Siebel and I've been working on a project called To Understand a Tree since 2018. And this project is in process at the MacLeish Field Station, which is a research station belonging to Smith College, which is a liberal arts college in Western Massachusetts. And what I think is really interesting about being able to be here with Hope and Sara today is that all of us began these projects around the same time. Mine began in 2018 and I think we were all in that same basic time span together. And so I can say that my project has kind of grown up in conversation with both of yours. So it's really neat to be here today, kind of bring that conversation forward in a different environment to understand A tree focuses on the idea of kinship with non-human species.

So I'm a woodworker. I've been working with material of wood for a really long time. And when I first encountered Suzanne Ard's research. Suzanne Ard is a forest ecologist who's done really important research on the interconnection of trees, how trees will share resources with one another, so-called hub trees or mother trees will send nutrients to other trees in their immediate environment. And she among others, has demonstrated that through really innovative scientific experiments. When I encountered that research, I thought, well, what does that mean for people who work with wood? What does that mean for our relationship to this material and to trees as other beings in our environment? And so that sort of was the opener for now really deep conversation about trees and kinship and relationships with plants, especially in a time of climate crisis.

Sara Smith: And I'm Sara Smith. I call myself sometimes a transdisciplinary choreographer. So my background is in dance and performance as well as visual arts. And I'm also Gina Siepel's partner in many things, artistic as well as in life. I have been working on my project also since about late 2017. It's called Inside the Breath INT (In Network Time), and I call it an expanded performance project. It's set in a multi-species collaborative future that's called INT, which stands for In Network time. And as you might guess by the word network, it is all about enmeshment and interconnection. And that is sort of a theme of a lot of my work, the idea of interconnection. And I'm usually looking at some particular scientific way into that idea. And so this one is really looking at biology of interconnection. So in this future utopian space that the project happens in, it's focusing on biologies of interconnection and imagines a world that is made possible by bacterial communication networks and is also based on the writing of Gloria Anzaldúa as modeled by octopuses. So at the heart of the product are really questions about the physical, political and spiritual implications of understanding humans as fully enmeshed participants in the earth's ecosystem. So I'll leave it at that for now, but I have a lot of thoughts about oceans and forests and all the other ways that our three projects connect.

Hope Ginsburg: I could point to the presence of so much consideration of interconnectedness, of notions, of inter being of the non-separate self. And of course the projects are spanning these notions both on land and underwater. And Sara, you pointed to this notion of the breath. And in Meditation Ocean, I think about how the dive team of meditating scuba divers are in this breath exchange from the seabed and what kind of interconnection is taking place between individual divers and the group of divers. So there's that kind of focus on interconnection, but there's also this notion of breathing with or being with or being in exchange with all of the wildlife that's on the seabed. And so there's this kind of decentering of the human in this environment in which we can ground and float and be, but it's really not our own. There's this focus on these interspecies kinships as has come up.

And then of course also, which I think has flickered in and out of each of our descriptions in MO, there's this looking at the interconnection between the social and the environmental and how those two things just can't be teased apart. And so as we sit in this moment of crisis, we're really looking at all of the social issues that are underpinning it and the roles that humans are playing and how can we step back or move off of this exceptional spot we've been occupying and thinking of ourselves as being entitled to. So I'm just throwing a few ideas out that kind of drew from interconnection, but I wonder if some of those different strains of connectivity might resonate or spark in terms of the different projects that we're sitting with.

Gina Siepel: I'll jump in and just talk a little bit about something that came to mind as you're talking, Hope, which is carbon. Carbon is something that we've talked a lot about because both oceans and forests are really important. Carbon sinks, ecosystems that absorb and sequester a lot of atmospheric carbon. And carbon is something I think in the era of climate crisis that we're starting to hear almost in an accounting form. We talk about carbon footprint and how many parts per million in the atmosphere or how many tons of carbon are emitted or sequestered. And so it's becoming almost like.. it's echoing capitalist frameworks in a sense. But just to say as a little bit of background, my work has centered around a single tree and the process of getting to know this tree and to come into some kind of actual relation to this tree that is trying to push the boundaries of the more objectifying relationship to a plant that I have inherited as a Western person with a Western mindset.

So as I came into relationship to this tree as I tried different things—and Sara was really instrumental with Sara's background in dance and choreography—with pushing me into trying to be embodied as I tried to create a relationship to this tree. Because it's an active imagination in a sense, to try to have a relationship to a plant, at least for me as someone with my Western mindset. I started doing breathing exercises with the tree. And so as I was kind of thinking about breathing with the tree, of course I began to realize that as I'm exhaling carbon dioxide, the tree is taking in carbon dioxide in photosynthesis and respiration. The tree is then releasing oxygen. I'm inhaling oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide. So there's like, real material reciprocity via carbon and oxygen, and of course other substances too. And that really led to a kind of very material and grounded sense of real connection to the tree. And it led me to think about how carbon... carbon of course is kind of a crisis right now, but carbon is also present in all living things. So it's both. It's a bit of a paradox.

Sara Smith: Yeah. I'm just thinking... So my project is called Inside the Breath, and it's really named that way because of the idea of breath as being both a process, respiration as a process of exchange. It's a process of exchange between humans. It's a process of exchange between humans and trees and our environment. All creatures have some respiratory process. And it's also an activity that helps us cultivate certain dispositions, ways of being embodied and ways of being in time. I think that that's also something that knowing about our three projects is in that. I mean, breathing can be a heart of a certain kind of meditation practice. It's also what we're instructed to do when our bodies are activated through stressful circumstances—take a breath, and there's a science to that. So there's a science to say talking about the exchange, the elements that are part of that breathing process. The metals that are in there, the bacterial networks that we're part of through our bacterial exchange. And also there's a science to what is happening in our bodies when we take a breath, the settling of the nervous system, the activation of the vagus nerve, what's happening in our brains. And I think that all of us are interested both for ourselves in how do we ground in the body in a way that helps us be present to all that exists in this moment of climate crisis and social crisis, and that's an ongoing thing. All of us are sort of born into a world where we have to grapple with this. But also that kind of process as creating possibilities for connections with the people we're doing it with or the species that we're doing that with. 

Hope Ginsburg: And I love that because our nervous systems are also so interconnected. And so when we use the breath to settle our own nervous system, that is in and of itself an intervention. That is an offering. And so when I think about an underpinning proposal of MO, which is that meditation can be a tool for dealing with the climate crisis, it comes back to the notion of anchoring into the breath, of watching the breath, and how that can help us be with and sustain attention to the terrifying and anxiety-provoking conditions that we're having to navigate, right? It's so easy to get distracted and turn away. So how do we take care of ourselves in attention to this issue? But as I learned more about the practice of meditation and deep in my own practice, I became aware of this kind of surplus ecological benefits of sitting with the breath of sitting in awareness practice of contacting an embodied state that's not as bound up in the thinking mind as we're all so trained to be that sense of the self, of the eye of construction of that through the thinking mind starts to come away a little bit, which really supports a sense of being part of one another, part of these threatened ecosystems of losing some sense of separation, which is in and of itself a kind of ecological proposal.

And so there is also a proposal in the work. You mentioned embodiment, genus talked about embodiment. There is also this proposal of coming back into the body as a kind of portal to other bodies. And so maybe just to point to some of those notions of embodiment in that specific way and also open up the conversation to the different practices that we might all have to center or ground and what those look like perhaps on the daily or how they're transmitted through the projects, or is that even of interest that they would be transmitted?

Sara Smith: Yeah, I think when you're talking about meditation practice, that we can widen that out to talk about breathing practice, whether we think of it as meditation or not. And all three of us do have some relationship to thinking about that in our project and outside of our project. I think for me that I started off as a dancer and also a singer in circumstances where just really pragmatically as well as more conceptually breath is a really important way to make sure that you're coming together with people to make things work like they're supposed to. Right? When you're singing, you have to make sure you're breathing in some kind of way that is in relation to the people you're singing with, especially if you're recording. There's some pragmatic concerns about making sure there's not a million breaths happening at the same time, although that can be interesting.
But just making sure that you sort of carry the rhythms in an embodied way as you sing with others, through breathing together, whether you explicitly talk about it that way or not. And I'm from a tradition of dance that involves a lot of improvisation and space with people. So a lot of that involves kind of tuning to the people that you're moving with. And a lot of that, again, some of it is conscious watching people breathing to have a sense of, okay, they're about to move. This is what breath looks like when you're about to move. This is what breath looks like when somebody is settling into a quieter space, is what breath looks like when somebody is going to jump. But also things like, I'm going to jump into your arms and you start to notice that breathing happens intentionally in a way that facilitates that relationship.

So that's really sort of my grounding. And I would say my earliest experiences of what I would later call a meditation practice came from dance came from a kind of mindful presence that we cultivate inside the dance traditions that I'm from. So when I started doing more formalized meditation practice and connecting more with Buddhist philosophy around meditation, there was a familiarity about that. The sort of sitting still was really unfamiliar and kind of uncomfortable, but the tuning into the breath as a way to ground. And I would love to hear you hope, I think that you say some really interesting things about the idea of grounding, so called that comes up over and over again in meditation as someone who works with meditation in the water. But that idea of breath as a grounding, the idea of breath as a relational, just to also take it back to something Gina said about the idea of carbon exchange as transactional. How do you use the breath to keep you in a relational, relational relationship to the people you're with and how can you extend that outwards? So I have a regular meditation practice, but I would say there's a continuum from that to my early experiences with dance and music,

Hope Ginsburg: Sara, that's also fascinating. And this notion of grounding and how that functions in a meditation practice that is underwater was an interesting thing to think with as we practiced meditation in the making of Mo. And of course, what the watery milieu offers alongside grounding is floating, which is its own kind of awareness practice and its own kind of surrender. And so just to talk a little bit about the relationship between breath and scuba and how I kind of came to be an underwater scuba meditator, which is not something that one sees coming. And so I guess my watery practice really began with a fascination with sea sponges. I mean, I could kind of geek out on sponges as I know we all have our beloved organism of choice. And so I'll kind of whizz past that and just say that I learned to scuba dive so that I could see sponges in their environment.

And I learned to scuba dive after I had a car accident in which I fractured a bone in my spine and my sternum. And so diving for me happened at a moment where there was a relationship to healing and the heaviness of the tank on my back and the torquing of the spine and my ability to do that really kind of signaled a kind of healing. And so diving and healing were mapped onto one another for me. And then there was a moment in 2013 where I was diving on a shallow reef off the coast of Puerto Rico where I had gone to see giant barrel sponges where it just so happened that the surge was moving all of the soft corals exactly time to my inhalations and exhalations. So I inhaled and all the life on the reef went one way and I exhaled.

Everyone went the other way. And there was just this kind of wonder moment of breathing with, and I had been introduced to Buddhist meditation practice in the late '90s in New York City and had had a sporadic practice in those intervening years. But this was a kind of dawning moment about the relationship between scuba diving and breath awareness. So obviously there's a relationship between scuba and the breath, but in that moment, diving and healing and a kind of breath awareness came into relationship for me. And so from that moment on, not only was I kind of getting deeper into a daily meditation practice, but I began a body of artwork called Land Dive Team that was about groups of people meditating on land with scuba insights that signaled some kind of environmental need for attention. And so that's a whole lot of air on that. But maybe just to add one more bit, and that is that when you are diving, it is your breath that controls where you are in the water. So you inhale, rise, exhale, fall, which is this is the vipasana awareness practice of rising, falling. And so doing this practice in a watery environment, it's quite augmented. And so yeah, thanks for calling in that deeper dive on the breath. And I know that all of this breath exchange has so many dimensions in a terrestrial milieu, which is kind of a lovely pointer back to Gina and to understand a tree.

Gina Siepel: Yeah, I think that my experiences of breath are definitely rooted in the terrestrial. And I think I love this question of how did you get to thinking about breath? Because I think for me it's maybe a little bit less clear than for either of you because I don't have a formal meditation practice, although I guess at this point that might be arguable, Sara's laughing, so, yeah, right. So I think for me, it really comes back to walking. It would not be an exaggeration, I think to say I have a lifelong practice of walking in the woods in particular, and I grew up doing this, and I think as a child and as a teenager, I spent an enormous amount of time walking in the woods. And I know that I was really aware that I was in different kinds of awareness at different times, and I felt always very excited about those periods of awareness where I felt very tuned in and very present with what was happening, and that I perceived so much during those times. And I don't think I had any sense at that point that I could control that though. 

There was a phase where I believe my aunt had given to my brother a book called Tom Brown Jr's Guide to Nature Awareness and Tracking. And I stole this book from my brother. I'm not even sure he knew he had it and I still have it. And in it, Tom Brown Jr., who was a kind of survivalist and a nature awareness kind of teacher, and I think he's still around, he gives these exercises and they're really interesting. And I came to understand later that they're actually meditations. They're like awareness and presence and meditations, and I would sort of practice them. And so with this project to understand a tree, when I realized that what I really needed to do in order to come into a greater understanding and relationship to the forest and to the tree that I was working with, not only through natural history study, but through presence and through observation, was that I needed to, A foundational thing that I had to do was to be able to be present.

And so that's when I started experimenting with breath. So I would often arrive at the field station straight from a very hectic academic job, and I would have to say, okay, I have to get myself to be present here. And I started counting timing my steps and my breath together on the 20 minute walk out to the site. That was probably the first intentional breath work that I did. So inhale four steps, exhale four steps, inhale four steps, exhale four steps. And I would find that if I did that for a count of 10 or 20, which was either 40 or 80 steps or something, I like counting that my awareness was much more in the moment that my nervous system was really calmed down and that I had kind of gone through a change of awareness. And so that led to further experiments once I would get to the site and I started working with breath in specific relation to the tree as I was describing before.

Sara Smith: I wondered, Gina, if you would just take a second to talk about, you sometimes talk about breath and in relation to the trees that you then work with in woodworking and the way that that exchange is present in the material.

Gina Siepel: Yeah, I mean, thank you for asking that, Sara. I think that came later after doing this. So this idea of the tree breathing exercise was really to contemplate as I inhaled that I was taking in carbon, that the trees around me had released, and as I exhaled, I was releasing oxygen that they would take in and to kind of do this for five or 10 minutes as an exercise. And eventually I kind of realized that that actually meant that we were becoming material, we were becoming each other's material. And so specifically as a woodworker, this I think for me was a profound realization as I realized that the tree itself, the wood, the material that I work with was not just land and sunlight and soil as I had been thinking, but it was also breath. It was the breath of humans. And this tree in particular that I'm talking about is 100 years old. So it contains the breadth of all of the people who have, or it's about a hundred years old. So all of the people who've sort of passed through for the last a hundred years of the very diverse and kind of profuse wildlife that are at the site.

Hope Ginsburg: Just another strain of embodiment.

Gina Siepel: Yeah.

Melissa Starker: I love how you have all connected your individual and collective work to something that is so essential and basic related to that. Granted the term social justice can be fairly charged now, and there's also maybe a certain perception of social justice and art in terms of the kind of material that you'll see. Just for me, Meditation Ocean does not fit that mold. It is something completely unique. And I think that it really comes down to number one, that foundation of breath work, but really also in terms of thinking of audience and engagement and response. How did you think about audience engagement and interaction when you were working on the projects?

Hope Ginsburg: So I was talking a little bit about the interconnection between the social and the environmental and Meditation Ocean was built to be both a video installation and a platform for public programming. It was built to be porous from the start, both in terms of the collaborators, in terms of participants in the workshops and events and meditations that were held in the space. And also there were many places in the project where a multiplex of voices were invited into the work. And so not only in the event programming, but also Meditation Ocean has a series of 10 guided scripts, and this is how Gina and Sara come to be in the constellation. And those scripts were an opportunity to invite a very diverse group of voices, diverse in terms of disciplinary specificity, background, identity... How many voices could move through this ocean, how porous could this ocean be?

And I've mentioned I can geek out about sponges. Sponges are the file and periphera, they're all pores. They have no inside and no outside, and they're the first multicellular organism of the Metazoa. They're the first animal. And so meditation, ocean, taking inspiration from the sponge was meant to be truly porous in terms of decentering any one individual's identity. And so that was reflected in the scripts that was reflected in the composition of the programs in the groups we worked with in student groups, we engaged and also in the making of the dive team. So it was very important to me that this piece, I mean, one of the kind of core inspirations for the piece was that it would offer viewers access to an environment that is more or less inaccessible, and that to orient them to the environment and to orient them to the practice that was being proposed of awareness, there would be a team of meditating scuba divers who would literally swim in, sit down and meditate with the audience.

So because I wanted the piece to speak to as wide an audience as possible, I wanted the audience to be able to see themselves in the dive team. And I'm not a casting agent, and so it wasn't a matter of casting theater, but it was about really looking at the network of divers that I knew, looking at who was doing what in the dive community and kind of building this team. And one thing that came to the fore as an opportunity that felt just so exciting that it worked was this chance to work with Diving with a Purpose, which is this incredible organization that spun off of the National Association of Black Scuba Divers to put together both youth training programs and adult maritime archeology training programs so that diving with a Purpose could seek and catalog and find the final resting places of slave ships from the transatlantic slave trade.

And so we were so fortunate that two divers from Diving with a Purpose joined the dive team and just added this incredible dimension of awareness practice in Biscayne National Park, which is the site that we shot, which is the watery environment of the resting place of the slave ship Guerrero. And so we knew that to be in awareness practice in these waters was to sit with histories of colonization and enslavement and environmental catastrophe and migration. And we knew that all of this was in the waters. So how to put together a project porous enough to reach and meet the viewers that we hoped to connect with, but to also be open enough to hold or find ways to hold everyone's reactions to the ocean because we knew that every person walking into this ocean would have a different relationship to the ocean. And so sort of in thinking about addressing the site through the site statement, building out the team of divers that we would be sitting with, inviting the group of voices that would be speaking and writing the guided meditations that we would be working with our collaborators in activating meditation not as a platform, there was a sense that we could not be talking about the environment without talking about the social issues that are so deeply intertwined.

And I know that I am far from being the only person in this conversation that is thinking about these issues in the work and in the project and how we're moving into the ocean, how we're moving on to lands, whose lands we're moving on to, what borders we're considering crossing or grappling with in the work. And so I know this is also kind of shared terrain to use terrestrial biased language.

Melissa Starker: One more question for Gina and Sara as collaborators on the project who are part of the constellation involved in one part, I'm curious about your response to seeing the final project.

Gina Siepl: As somebody who had been in conversation with Hope for a while about Meditation Ocean, and Hope, I've loved watching your work evolve over the last several years into this form that it's taken. And I was really excited to get to be a part of the constellation and work with you in the early phases in our collaboration at Mildred's Lane where you came and did meditations in the pond with our participants. And we talked about carbon and lungs of the planet and really did some great explorations together, the three of us as a part of that project. I think it was just, I've really admired the whole time, the way you conceived of the layers of the project, the actions in the ocean, how you managed and laid all that out, the shooting of the video, the editing process, the gallery installation, the thinking through that, and then to actually see it all put together, the gallery installation, the sound, Joshua Quas, amazing compositions, the meditations, the presence of the voice there and the text.

And I think it was just so thoughtfully put together and I just found the space to be totally mesmerizing. I think the footage is so beautifully shot. I've never dived. I probably never will. It kind of scares me to be honest. And to be able to see what you all saw that far underwater was really magical to me. And I think the way you conceived of the installation was just, it really delivered the feeling of, I think for me, respect for the underwater ecosystem, a sense of care and also a real sense of care for your viewers, I think was transmitted in a really beautiful way. So I felt like it was just very holistically conceived, and I found it really inspiring and rewarding to spend some time there.

Hope Ginsburg: Thanks for that, Gina. And thanks Gina and Sara for inviting me into the incredible forest body chair at Mildred's Lane and creating the opportunity to both do some floating meditation, but also test this notion of written scripts. And that happened there for the first time. And also Gina, thanks for conjuring some of the other collaborators in the constellation. It caused a flood of thinking about this film video studio and Jennifer Lang and the editor Alexis McCrimmon, and Matt Flowers who shot it, and Josh, my own beloved partner who did all of the sound. And it really has been such an incredible honor to be part of this constellation with everyone at the Wexner Center and beyond. And it was just so amazing that both of you were able to be out there for the opening and see it in person and be there in the ocean.

Sara Smith: Yeah, it was great to see. And it was great to see that expression of the ideas that you've been working with, and it really is. It feels like a porous space. It feels like a space for contemplation. But also, I appreciate your insistence on the idea of the constellation. And it feels like that when you're in there, there's many in the video space, you're not appearing as a talking head, you're appearing more than other people. I mean, you're credited, but it's a space of inaction. And I think, again, that is something that is really in my project that I'm sort of trying to think backwards. If I'm thinking about this eco utopian future that is also a space where we've done reparative work around social harm. What are the practices we need to be doing now in order to get to that future? And I think that that is what I see in that space is that it is a space for practice and the variety of voices that come in the auditory sense and also in the language of the meditations, the diversity of people that you invited to write the scripts. The way all of us approach the scripts from our own interests. It really creates this multiplicative environment. And we get to choose as the people in the space, do I want to listen to this one thing over and over again in the same location? Do I want to move away from speakers and just watch the video and have that experience? Do I want to lay on the floor with my eyes closed? And I think it really does a beautiful inverse of what we usually experience when we go into museums and galleries or what we expect, which is the artist will have laid something out for us to look at and try to guess at what they're after. We're going to spend a few minutes with each thing and then move on to the next thing. And I think it's really a space that makes me want, it made me want to spend a lot of time, and I don't know if this is happening, but I can just imagine that people who come will come back and come back. It has that kind of invitation to it.

And also, I just love as somebody else who's working with the ocean as a space and the fact that we know less about the ocean than we know about outer space at this point. The fact that there is a whole space inside that museum where we can be with the ocean in a way that those of us that don't dive never get to be. It is really an invitation to a different way of being in our day. And I really appreciate that.

Hope Ginsburg: Thank you so much for that feedback and for being part of making it all happen and for sharing dialogue between all of our projects now for about the five year span that we've been imagining and realizing them. And it's really just an honor to be thinking with both of your projects on land and underwater and spectacularly and Branch Lee feels really special to have the chance for this exchange. So as we wrap up this incredibly spongy, respiring and inspiring conversation, at least it was to be a part of huge thanks to my collaborators, Gina Spel and Sara Smith, and to Melissa Starker, who's so generously moderated our conversation and produced it for all of you listeners to hear. Thank you so much everybody.

Melissa Starker: That was Hope Ginsburg, Gina Siepel, and Sara Smith in a conversation prompted by their collaboration on Meditation Ocean. For more information about exhibitions and all things Wex, go to On behalf of everyone at the Wexner Center for the Arts, thanks for listening.


Top of page: Meditation Ocean Constellation: Meditation Ocean, installation view at the Wexner Center for the Art; photo: Stephen Takacs

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