The Mobile Coaction Lab (MCL)

The Coaction Lab at the University of Maine in collaboration with the Open Lab Research group at UC Santa Cruz is teaming up with Maine artist and wooden boat maker, Reed Hayden to create a mobile art & science lab focused on local and global water issues. This lab will transport an array of art and science tools to help visualize and sonify local water data, stories and histories. Phase 1 of the project will create the mobile art lab, using an a pre-fab aluminum trailer base to support a custom wooden trailer that will be made from a variety of local, sustainable materials. The lab will transport both art and science tools such as video projectors, an audio system, a microscope, a 3D printer and an array of water quality sensors. The project will also be used as a mobile deployment system for the current version of Oceanic Scales, allowing this modular art & science exhibit to be transported and set up in a variety of outdoor locations. The trailer will be solar powered with panels on the roof and a battery system in the front cargo bin. Fold away / hinged tables and shelves will allow this space to be transformed from cargo space to creative work space, exploring the intersections between art, science and community.

In phase 2 of the project, we will create a three-part modular, skiff styled boat design that will serve as a floating sensor and performance platform. This platform will be covered by a collapsable geodesic dome, skinned with translucent material that will allow it to be projected on from the outside or illuminated from the inside via programable RGB LED’s. The dome / scow platform will be tethered to the trailer, securing it to land and providing power and data lines for the sensors and LEDS. On land, the trailer has been designed with portholes on each side with shelves under each window, where high-lumen projectors can be set up to projection map imagery onto the dome or surrounding landscapes, rain or shine. A similar floating dome design was created and has been used in the past from participating artist Gene Felice and can be viewed online at