Jakob Kudsk Steensen

Aquaphobia, 2017

VR experience for HTC Vive

AQUAPHOBIA uses VR to connect inner psychological landscapes with exterior eco-systems. The work is inspired by psychological studies of the treatment of aquaphobia – fear of water- as an entry point to transform perceptions of our relationship to future water levels and climates.

AQUAPHOBIA is a full-scale replica of Louis Valentino Jr. Park and Pier in Redhook, Brooklyn, an area greatly compromised by climate change with hurricanes and rising sea levels. The virtual landscape combines red-clay materials with pre-urban plant species in Brooklyn and futuristic settings. While journeying through the landscape, mud, water, subterranean infrastructures, roots and plants intertwine with one another to form a symbiotic landscape the person visiting the virtual simulation of AQUAPHOBIA experiences.

While travelling through the landscape, an alien morphing aquatic entity follows you around and emit scuba diving sounds and recites a poem, which tell a breakup story between the landscape and its virtual visitor. Ultimately, AQUAPHOBIA uses VR to mixes past and future geological periods, and the work personifies a landscape through a break-up story.


Direction, production, art and sound by Jakob Kudsk Steensen

Text by Jakob Kudsk Steensen

Narration by Rindon Johnson




Jakob Kudsk Steensen is a Danish artist based in New York, who uses the technologies, visual methods and production pipelines of media and technology industries to develop his own VR art works. Utilizing truly interdisciplinary approaches, Steensen exhibit at both art museums and at technology conferences and expos with his art, as well as film festivals, in attempts to create meaningful discussions between fields. With a decade of experience in using game engines for creative purposes, Steensen develops simulations of futuristic landscapes based on collaborations with scientific departments, public institutions and NGOs. He is concerned with how imagination, technology and ecology intertwine by developing futuristic virtual simulations of existing real-world landscapes, by combining past geologies with speculations on future climate conditions. His work also expands how we perceive the natural elements, by connecting us through VR with the lives of microbes, oceans, plants and entire land-masses. 

His art has recently been exhibited at Carnegie Museum of Art, The Moving Image Fair, NYC, MAXXI, Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Modern Art, CopenX. As an art director, Steensen’s work has been shown at Sundance and TriBeCa film festival, among many other festivals. His work has been featured on Artnet, The Art Newspaper, Hyperallergic, Spike Art Quaterly, ARTREPORT, Politiken, Information, Worm, NEO2 and TSOEG. He has received awards from the Danish Arts Foundation, The Augustinus Foundation, and Lumen Arts Price. He has been artist in residence at Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, AADK, Centra Negra, MASS MoCA, BRIC, Mana Contemporary, and Steensen is currently a member of the technology-culture incubator NEW INC by the New Museum in NYC.

If you are interested in exhibiting or viewing this artistic VR experience, please send an email to us.