Many of the systems that sustain this enchanted neck of the woods are [in]visible, including groundwater. If we can't see the water that runs beneath the Bluegrass, it's difficult to imagine how our actions affect this valuable resource...and how groundwater impacts our everyday. As environmental activist and poet, Wendell Berry, notes, "For humans to have a responsible relationship to the world, they must imagine their places in it.” Livestream tunes up perceptual affordances so that individuals can tune in to an increased environmental awareness. How? Play!
Livestream: A Public Art Installation
Spring 2014 – Fall 2015
During this initial phase of the Livestream project, monitoring stations will be installed in springs throughout Kentucky—including Carter Cave State Resort Park; McConnell Springs Park; Mammoth Cave National Park; and Clarks River National Wildlife Refuge. Each station will collect and transmit data to the Kentucky Geological Survey's (KGS) Groundwater Data Repository that measures:
Using sonification software, Livestream will translate this data into a musical score composed by local artists, beginning with Ben Sollee. The resulting sound tracks will be uploaded to a public art installation situated in Lexington's Jacobson Park.
This interactive sound sculpture will be fabricated out of 20 pipes divided into 4 clusters that correlate to the 4 different springs (and physiographic regions) where groundwater is being collected, thus forming a representational map of Kentucky.
Within each cluster, each pipe will house a unique library of sounds that represent 1 of the 5 groundwater parameters being measured. As data is collected, sounds are played.
Each pipe will be connected to a speaker equipped with a sensor. Sound is activated when motion is detected. Volume is contingent upon human engagement or, more specifically, it directly corresponds to proximity—the closer an individual is to a pipe, the louder it plays; the further away, the softer the sound, until eventually, the pipe is silent. As individuals move through this soundscape, they effectively play the ground!
By actively engaging individuals in the cultivation of one of Kentucky's most valuable resources–imagination– Livestream [re]frames how individuals perceive their environment and, consequently, themselves.