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Navigating Turbulence

“Navigating Turbulence” was a five-piece art and science exhibit created by Ohio University faculty, staff, and students. The interactive installations were based on past Open OHIO conversations and were on display throughout February, March, and April 2019.

Art installations presented by Open OHIO are meant to serve as interactive opportunities to continue dialogue and grow perspectives.


sketch of a pair of kinetic sculptures

"You can’t take it with you…(tornado)" "You can’t take it with you…(hurricane)"

Artist: Melissa Haviland

This pair of kinetic sculptures comes from a series of artworks called “You can’t take it with you…” that began after the birth of my son when my whole life was in transition. “You can’t take it with you…” is about those chaotic moments in life when we feel like we might be swept away. I was stewing on motherhood when making the work. I was also thinking about the refugee or immigrant experience, especially when children are involved.

My larger body of artwork revolves around domestic objects and how they can moor us, but so many people need to leave everything behind to survive. I thought about the book “Teacup,” by Rebecca Young, when making this work. In this book, a boy is forced to leave his home in a boat with next to nothing. After a long and treacherous sea voyage, he finds a new land and takes root. “You can’t take it with you…” uses the imagery of domestic objects floating on a turbulent sea. The works take the form of weather formations as a way to also discuss these turbulent events and their effects.

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graphic representing the entropy machine art installation

"The Entropy Machine"

Artist: Owen Lowery

You approach a curious structure. Color painted in digital light is smeared across its surface. A reflected version of you appears. Fragments of light—your energy, your quanta, your essence—float from your body, mixing with the colors of this digital image. Your motion, your movement, your form, permanently changes the image before you. It permanently changes the underlying system of the entire structure. All the while, the order that has held your familiar form (your structure) breaks apart little by little. When at last your familiar form has vanished entirely, you will not cease to exist, but exist differently, apart from the order you once clung to so desperately.

We are forces in this world. Forces of turbulence. Energy flowing. When we let go of our physical selves and embrace that energy, we may exist in a state of equilibrium with everyone and everything that has ever been and will ever be.

This curious structure, this digital light, this interactive system, is not The Entropy Machine. You are. We all are. We are energy contained. But energy, given the opportunity to spread, will spread.

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transforming trauma art installation features a metal sculpture and paper accents

"Transforming Trauma"

Artists: Rachel Siegel, Susan Folger, and Megan Yetzer

Paper flowers serve as both a symbol and real communication of the realities of trauma survivors. We chose this as a simple symbol of transformation and growth, but the piece encourages connection to self and/or others.

“Transforming Trauma” honors and acknowledges the embeddedness of our creative force, for change and healing, within the fabric of turbulent external and internal landscapes. It suggests the important role of process-oriented, supportive, and engaged community, willing to make space for deeper dialogue on difficult issues. We believe it is now time to create a responsive space to answer the cry of those impacted by trauma. We hear you. This space is for you. The path to healing is often turbulent, but you are not alone.

For more information about the Transforming Trauma project, watch this short video or read more about the project on Facebook. Materials for this project were funded by a grant from the Open OHIO initiative.

Transforming Trauma Kits

This art installation contains content submitted by survivors of trauma, which are created from narrative kits distributed throughout the University and Athens community. These kits include instructions, information, supplies, and a flower drop-off box. The community is invited to transform their trauma narratives into paper flowers that will be collected and added to the larger sculptural frame. You can find kits at the following locations:

  • All exhibit spaces where the sculpture is displayed
  • Athens Survivor Advocacy Outreach Program (SAOP), 77 E. State St., Athens
  • 190 Convocation Center, OHIO Athletics embedded counselor
  • The Dairy Barn Art Center, 8000 Dairy Ln., Athens
  • My Sisters’ Place, contact 1.800.443.3402
  • The Offices at Blue Line Drive, 17 Blue Line Dr., Athens
  • OHIO LGBT Center, 354 Baker University Center
  • OHIO Survivor Advocacy Program (SAP), Lindley Hall 032-038
  • OHIO Women’s Center, 403 Baker University Center
  • 151 Parks Hall, OHIO HCOM embedded counselor


This project was created by Rachel Siegel, Susan Folger, and Megan Yetzer, all of whom are staff clinicians who work with trauma survivors at OHIO’s Counseling and Psychological Services. Rachel Siegel is the artist behind the creation of the dynamic sculpture; Susan and Megan contributed as scientists to the research informing the project.

Close-up of a hand holding the chemical element gallium, as part of the "shape of the future" art exhibit.

"Shape of the Future"

Artist: Ekaterina Izmestyeva

We often think of the future as of a distant intangible concept—something that is never getting closer to us—as an imaginary horizon line that always exists somewhere else. “Shape of the Future” actualizes the process of time passing and the future, imagined as a stable system, becoming unpredictable now, becoming something different from how we see it originally.

“Shape of the Future” is a mixed media installation exploring and using the properties of the chemical element gallium—a metal that melts at temperatures greater than 85°F. In this project, viewers are invited to touch the metal as it melts, thus collectively reshaping the ever-changing future.

someone playing a virtual simulation

"Turbulent Minds"

Artist: Hope Moore

We can’t read each other’s minds. We are often unable to express how we experience the world—either because we are told to hide certain aspects of ourselves or we are just unable to fully express it in words. Because of this isolation and disconnect, we as a species feel alone, not understanding that much of what we experience individually is actually pretty common, though it varies among us. It’s easy to stigmatize and ignore aspects of life that some of us don’t experience, especially if it’s uncomfortable. It’s easier to avoid than to try to empathize when we might not be able to do so just using our imagination. Art fills this gap between us. It can make us feel and experience what someone else feels and experiences.

“Turbulent Minds” is a series of three interactive pieces that replicate psychological symptoms that many people deal with daily and how they interfere with simple tasks. Played individually or together, each experience has a simple goal, but you will have to navigate or work around the symptoms to reach it.