Noise pollution in our oceans is explored in this interactive electronic art project.

Whales use echo-location to navigate through the water. Noise pollution in our waters, from shipping, fishing, and seabed drilling and excavation, adversely affects whales' ability to navigate accurately, causing disorientation. The art project Sounding raised awareness and understanding of this important issue.

Sounding is a collaboration between Associate Professor Caro McCaw, West Coast artist Vicki Smith and Taranaki Internet-of-Things enthusiast Andrew Hornblow. Together they worked with Otago University whale researcher Professor Liz Slooten, and sound artist Leyton Glen, plus the Otago Museum design team and Otago Polytechnic design students. This project received support from Creative New Zealand, Urban Dream Brokerage, GigCity, Dunedin City Council, Otago Museum and Otago Polytechnic.

Sounding uses electronically enabled umbrellas to enable members of the public to experience whales' underwater communication, and to demonstrate what noise pollution might sound like to them. This playful interaction helps us better understand our marine mammals’ aural environment, echo-location and human disruption in Otago’s oceans. The umbrellas have been displayed at interactive exhibitions and pop-up performances in Dunedin in 2017 and 2018.

October 2018