Aural Reef

Zoe Bachman

A translation device that allows humans to speak to coral.


Aural Reef is a translation device that takes human speech and transforms it into coral reef noise in an attempt to help restore reef populations. 27% of the world's coral reefs has been lost. If present rates of destruction are allowed to continue, 60% of the world's coral reefs will be destroyed over the next 30 years. 2016 is on track to experience the worst coral bleaching events yet – after similar episodes in both 2015 and 2014.

What if we could talk to coral and what if those messages actually did something helpful?

Research has shown that the noisier a reef is, the healthier it is. Scientists are starting to use audio as a way of quickly monitoring the state of a reef. Studies show that coral larvae and young fish are attracted to the sounds of the reef, guiding them to coastal areas and allowing them to identify suitable settlement habitats. Researchers found that when they installed underwater speakers playing coral reef noise, the baby coral inevitably swam toward the speakers, even when the speaker was above them (the larvae have a natural tendency to swim downward).

Aural Reef is a prototype of a telecommunication device that enables humans to communicate with coral and help in reef restoration through audio translation. A Max/MSP patch detects the presence and pitch of the voice, then alters and plays back a coral reef noise sound file so that it matches. The idea is that the more people speak, it will generate artificial reef noise which will draw larvae to deppopulated reef structures and assist in regrowing coral colonies.

I’m currently using a regular mic, but I want to construct an object that takes the sound of a person’s voice and outputs the coral reef translation to an underwater speaker. In a real setup, the speaker would be installed in a reef, tethered to a fiber optic cable and a satellite connection to the device.

Aural Reef is a project by Zoe Bachman, designed and programmed by Zoe with Aarón Montoya, co-programmer.


Temporary Expert: Design + Science in the Anthropocene


Yue Hu, Ying He, Yan Zhao

Aim to use plants as interface connect our physical and digital lives together. Plant Interface / Under Bed Farming / Listen to Indoor Forest


In 60-70 of the last century – the 1970s scientists to explore “The Secret Life of Plants,” argue that if plant is really just a plant. they experiment with the plant connected to the polygraph machine and plant attempts to prove humans have the ability to think and communicate. Now, we live in the era of Internet of Things , technology enable people have the ability to interpret nature, we collected data nature (including humidity, light, temperature, etc.) trying to d the code the secrets of plant growth, understanding the relationship between plants and the dissemination of information through the root system. Will this changed the relationship between plants and people ? We try to use plants as interface connect our physical and digital lives together.


Data Art, Temporary Expert: Design + Science in the Anthropocene, Web Development with Open Data

Sugar-Coated Extinction

Colby Blake

An actionable metaphor for the sixth extinction using taste and decision quotas.


This is Part II of Sugar-Coated Extinction, a project that uses food to symbolize the scale and significance of living in a mass extinction event. Part II includes six novel flavor sugar cubes to represent different forms of life in Madagascar, an island that formed in relative isolation and free of human activity for millennia. The sugar cubes are illuminated from below to show the swirls of color in each block, a metaphor for the mystery that still shrouds our understanding of the natural world and the mystery that we are destroying when we fail to consider the artistic balance of biodiversity. Small hammers labelled with different mechanisms of extinction (labels not seen in video) are available for a viewer to chose how they wish to contribute to anthropogenic extinction. This project is about changing perceptions about the concept of extinction in the viewers mind. The hope is that the next time the viewer is confronted with dense extinction data or trivial rallies to save cute animals, they can understand such in the context of mass extinction by accessing their memory of taste, action and decision.


Temporary Expert: Design + Science in the Anthropocene


Gal Nissim

An interactive installation on the relations between humans and rats mediated by trash.!trat/p3a6r


This project is inspired by my ongoing research on New york city as an ecosystem and one of the most prominent residents of the city — the rat. New York City has a growing population not only of humans but also of rats. The way trash is being treated in the city and the growing number of people in it help to increase the rats population and push them towards humans' habitats.

Trat is a found object installation of a classic outdoor trash bin lighted by a “street light”. Filling it with trash reveals the truth behind what seems at first sight as typical New York trash.


Readymades, Temporary Expert: Design + Science in the Anthropocene


Dana Abrassart, Jamie Charry

The trash can that talks back, reexamining our relationship with waste.


trash/talk is a trash can that talks back. In doing so, it attempts to bring awareness to the usually mindless act of throwing waste away.

Fairly mundane looking from the outside, trash/talk then catches the unwitting off guard by displaying images of the ultimate demise of trash in NYC.

Finally, trash/talk offers an alternative to wasteful products.

***NB. We may try to amend the project before the show to change the output, but the idea and technical are working beautifully.


Food Systems: Interventions + Remediations, Temporary Expert: Design + Science in the Anthropocene

plastic in paradisum

Rebecca Ricks

plastic in paradisum is a creative interrogation of the social processes that confer value on the objects that surround us.


The project is a digital, interactive archive of plastic objects I found washed up on the beach at Dead Horse Bay. I collected, photographed, researched, and created 3D models of the plastic objects, which can be viewed on the project website.

The poet A.R. Ammons once remarked that maybe garbage was the sacred image of our time. I'm interested in the images and rituals of consumption and how cultural attitudes toward waste have resulted in an ocean threatened by a plastic soup.


Temporary Expert: Design + Science in the Anthropocene