EBB IN FLOW
Cecilia Kramar 𝄅 Molly Taylor 𝄅 Man Zhou
fabric, yarn, metal strips, wood, foam, pressure sensors, motors, micro-controllers
20" x 20" (top) 35" x 35" (bottom)
Close your eyes. Now, imagine you have a third eye that lives in your inner body, and sees everything your body experiences. What would it see? This imaginative concept takes us to wonder about how we embody changes in our inner-self when nature heals us. Imagine again, laying down on the moss, as you are feeling the warm sunshine and the chill spring breeze, you are carried by the submerging sensation of freshness and comfort. For a moment, you forget about your worries and your heart feels lighter. Then, you open this third eye, and you see a soft white form, slowly dancing in the void, caressing your insecure mind with each movement. And then, as you stare at it, countless colours seem to paint on this white surface and become the scene you see in your inner self.
Ebb in flow was inspired by the flowing sensations of cortisol levels in the body, responding to the stresses in the daily environments. These ever-changing cortisol levels vary when we let ourselves indulge in nature’s calm and restorative abilities, a phenomenon that has yet to be pin-pointed, but whose power is true, nonetheless. The nature-inspired mossy seat invites the viewer to change their cortisol level when taking the chance to sit down, to feel the softness beneath them, sense the smells, and see a visual representation of a calming inner body.
Cecilia Kramar earned her Ph.D. investigating the mechanisms involved in learning and memory. She’s always been interested in how our brain decides what memories to keep and which ones to forget, and how that can shape our cognition and our entire self. During her Ph.D., Cecilia started using art as a way of expressing herself; not only making art, but also studying it, and understanding its importance in our mental health and well-being. During her scientific career, Cecilia has also been very interested in taking the science outside the lab to the community, making it more approachable and understandable.
Molly Taylor is a third year Design Major student at Concordia University, minoring in Sustainability Studies. Having grown up on the North shore of Lake Superior in Northern Ontario, her practice is rooted in taking inspiration from nature and using biomimicry to learn from her surrounding environment. Molly loves to work in multimedia, furniture design, and construction projects that allow her to grow her skillset, while weaving in her interests in bio-materials, fashion, and social change.
Man Zou is a third year Design Major student at Concordia University, minoring in Game Design. Coming from a Visual Art background, she loves to learn from her surroundings and express her feelings through multimedia works. She is particularly interested in exploring the intersectionalities between technology, neuroscience, design and art, as Man believes in the beauty of cross-disciplinary collaboration.
Our fast-paced lifestyle and world (catastrophic) events are leading to a global increase in anxiety and stress. We are all feeling it. Now, close your eyes and think about a forest, picture yourself having a walk surrounded by nature. Aren’t you instantly more calm? But…why? Research findings suggest that exposure to nature (or what doctors like to call, a nature-pill) has a significant impact on our overall health and cognitive functions.
A 20 minutes walk in nature, 3 times a week, can decrease the levels of Cortisol, better known as ‘the stress hormone’. Cortisol prepares your body for a ‘fight-or-flight’ response by increasing your heart rate and flooding your body with glucose providing energy to your muscles for running… or fight. Which is great if we are in danger. So, what is the problem? In our ever-stressed lifestyle, our bodies are releasing Cortisol almost constantly, telling our bodies we are in danger all the time. This creates an imbalance that directly impacts our health, increasing anxiety and depression, heart diseases, impairing our memory and cognition.
Thanks to science now we know: being surrounded by nature can decrease the levels of this hormone, helping us decrease our stress and improving our health. So now, go and lay down in the moss and look up to the sky…and just relax.