Hotel Casa del Mar

A Southern California-based event series kicked off in January thanks to a partnership with the Hotel Casa del Mar in Los Angeles, U.S. The boutique hotel’s new ocean-focused venue, The Conservatory, was the perfect setting to spotlight SOI and Nekton’s joint Ocean Rising initiative, which focuses on inspiring a connection with the Ocean through popular culture sectors.

Against a beach backdrop, 75 guests from the arts, sciences, business and nonprofits gathered for the opening of Ocean Rising at The Conservatory, a new event space at Hotel Casa Del Mar in Santa Monica, Calif. Seven works by participants in Schmidt Ocean Institute’s Artist-at-Sea program were exhibited, and over lunch, guests heard remarks from Wendy Schmidt, Schmidt Ocean’s Jyotika Virmani and Carlie Wiener, and recent Artist-at-Sea Max Hooper Schneider (above, right).

The first event connected a diverse audience from the worlds of film, publishing, music, fashion, science, and more — who came together to talk about the Ocean in a room with an ocean view. Wendy Schmidt, SOI’s co-founder and president, shared her personal story of how the Ocean inspired her and its integral role in our lives. Dr. Jyotika Virmani spoke about SOI’s role in ocean research and our Artist-at-Sea program. Max Hooper Schneider captivated the audience, sharing his artist residency experiences on board R/V Falkor (too) during the 2023 Underworld of Hydrothermal Vents expedition.

We’re looking forward to our next event, Waves of Change Fashioning an Ocean-Friendly Future, hosted by Casa Del Mar and SOI. Former supermodel and social entrepreneur Frederique van der Wal will speak at the event. The cocktail reception and sustainable fashion show will feature designers Runa Ray, Sasha Royce, and Melissa Kritsotakis, accompanied by music composed by Michelle Carter and Mike Solomon for this event. Both Sasha and Melissa will debut designs inspired by SOI imagery. Attendees will also enjoy a special guest performance from WORDTheatre featuring Jason George from ABC’s long-running “Gray’s Anatomy.”

The Royal Institution

On 22 January 2024, Executive Director Dr. Jyotika Virmani gave a lecture at the prestigious Royal Institution in London. Video footage of glass octopuses, an epic siphonophore, and otherworldly landscapes transported the audience to the deep and helped illuminate how the scientists who sailed with SOI on Falkor and Falkor (too) are changing the understanding of our global Ocean. In a hall with a rich history of connecting the public with science, Jyotika showed how robotics and cutting-edge technology rapidly accelerate knowledge about our planet’s life support system, highlighting work done during several science cruises, including the Designing the Future 2 and Ultra Fine-Scale Seafloor Mapping Expeditions. She shared highlights from Falkor (too)’s inaugural year and walked the live audience and virtual attendees through the state-of-the-art capabilities available on the ship.

Jyotika Virmani, executive director of the Schmidt Ocean Institute, speaks at the Royal Institution in London about uncovering a new era of Ocean discovery providing unprecedented abilities to explore the wonderful world beyond our coastline like never before.

The event was followed by an Artist-at-Sea exhibition and the world premiere of “Ocean Watch,” a 40-minute documentary film featuring new deep-sea discoveries and showcasing mesmerizing never-before-seen deep-sea footage from Falkor (too). The film is a collaborative project between Natural World Facts and SOI for the Royal Institution. An in-person Q&A session with the film’s writer, director, and narrator, Leo Richards, followed the screening; SOI Director of Communication Dr. Carlie Wiener facilitated the conversation.


We invite you to share the newsletter with your friends and encourage them to subscribe, so they do not miss our first look at Schmidt Ocean Institute’s activities.

Chapter 7 Newsletter – 2024 • Menu
Subscribe to our quarterly newsletter