Andrea Polli is a digital artist and academic, who has been working with visualisation and sonification of data for over two decades. I find her particularly interesting because she often works with real-time environmental data. My three favourite projects of hers are Energy Flow on the Rachel Carson Bridge in Pittsburgh (2016-17), Particle Falls (2008 – ) which has toured various cities in the US and Europe, and Atmospherics/Weather Works (2003-07). I’ll give brief summaries here, and you can also find out more at andreapolli.com.
Particle Falls is a large-scale projection installation displayed on the side of a building. A nephelometer measures the level of PM2.5 particles in the air every 15 seconds. This data is translated into bursts of colour in the projected image. This is similar to what I did – on a much smaller scale and with a pre-existing dataset rather than a live feed – for my master’s project.
Energy Flow is a light installation that uses LEDs to show the energetic potential of the wind in real time. This is another example of using sensors to get data about the environment, right here, right now, and displaying it to the public in a visually engaging way.
Atmospherics/Weather Works in collaboration with meteorological scientist Glenn Van Knowe, Polli used historic meteorological data about two storms, Hurricane Bob (1991) and the President’s Day Snowstorm (1979). Specific points in the gallery corresponded to geographical locations the storms passed through, while temperature, pressure, wind, and humidity data was represented by pitch, timbre, and volume. The installation offers a way of experiencing or re-living the storms through sound. See https://rhizome.org/community/25781/
Particle Falls © Jared Rendon Trompak
Energy Flow © Andrea Polli