Josh Michaels

Dates: August 18th-28th

Hello world! My name is Josh Michaels, I’m a creative polymath with a bias toward technology from Portland, Oregon. My primary interest with regards to naturalism is the power of nature immersion as a form of therapy. With an increasing global focus on mental health and mindfulness, regular immersion in nature is often overlooked as one of the simplest and least expensive ways to improve ones mental health. However not everyone has the time or access to receive the benefits of nature immersion, which is difficult to reflect on given our origins as humans.

Along those lines, my interest is rooted in a desire to create experiences using images and video of nature that offer the power of nature immersion to people who are unable to experience it in person. A variety of research has shown that viewing images and video of nature can provide up to 90% of the therapeutic benefit of actually going into nature. This is remarkable given how low-fi synthetic nature is compared to the real thing.

The reality of modern life is that most people don’t have and can’t make the time to really immerse themselves in nature on a regular basis. So from a modern lifestyle point-of-view, nature imagery and video offers a practical way to squeeze some of the benefits of nature into a nature-starved life.

That said, the people who may benefit most from nature imagery and video are those who are locked away from actual nature for health, legal, or other reasons. Whether it’s a hospital room, submarine, or jail cell, physical limitations that cut people off from nature deprive them of benefits which should seemingly be available and accessible to every human all the time.

Nature imagery and video offers a great way to combat limited access to nature by bringing nature inside for those who can’t go outside. The possibilities for low cost and cost saving ways to use nature imagery to help those who lack access to nature are endless.

I’ll be using my time at Dinacon to continue my investigations into this subject using portable EEG/EKG monitoring to compare actual and recorded nature experiences.