Sonaqua creates sonification orchestral arrangements of water samples based on electrical conductivity

Sonaqua asks the question: What does water quality sound like?

With this ongoing installation and workshop series, I collect river water samples from across the globe with the assistance of volunteers and workshop participants. Each water sample contains different minerals and will conduct 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. So, the more ecologically impacted a river system, the more electrical charge it will likely conduct.

Using a simple Arduino circuit, this artwork creates sonification orchestral arrangements of water samples. As an autonomous installation, it acts as an electronic organism, emitting patterns of noise and reflects the interconnectedness of our ecological system. As an installation, it can also include direct interactivity through buttons and sensors to engage in a dialogue of scientific-based curiosity. The installation can morph into different forms, depending on context.

I am also teaching this as a series of workshops where participants solder circuits and construct enclosures to build handheld Sonaqua devices, so that we can create large-scale performances.


Installation at Currents 2018, New Mexico


Installation in Bangkok (June 2017)


Preview of project, as designed in Santa Fe (April 2017)