Sonaqua asks the question: What does water quality sound like?
This is a site-specific interactive sound installation where users can “play” vials of water from live readings water quality. For each exhibition, I collect river and lake samples at various nearby locations, reflecting the surrounding freshwater ecosystem as an acoustic melange.
Each water sample contains different minerals and conducts an electrical current (EC) at different rates. Measurements of EC correlate to total dissolved solids (TDS), which is often an indicator of heavy metals pollution by industrial and mining process. The more polluted a river system, the more electrical charge it will likely conduct.
The water samples are situated on a hand-painted table, depicting a map of just the region’s waterways. A vial of water rests on its collected location. There are 3 buttons on each side of the table, that visitors may press that will issue a square wave sound that corresponds to the water quality of that vial: the lower tones indicate more pollution and the higher ones are more pure.
Using a simple electrical circuit, this artwork allows for chance acoustic arrangements as visitors play with one another in the spirit of improvisation and scientific inquiry.