Last night I went to Brussels to watch the performance with the Art Pollution Kit. This is a project by Michal Kindernay and Gívan Belá (Guy van Bellen.) They are making a cheap or DIY kit for measuring different kinds of environmental values. The prototype they showed last night measured temperature, light, humidity and noise. They will be extending it with other sensors like the gas sensors I’m using.
The prototype itself was very basic but what I found very interesting was their thinking about pollution. They asked themselves what is pollution in an image, in sound? They found that the degradation of the colour spectrum is an equivalent for visual pollution. Michal has been busy with visualising pollution in a very direct way: by changing the actual pixels of the image of the location where the pollution is. The image is being polluted by the data. Twenty-four hours of data can be displayed in the image which changes over time. When there’s no pollution you get a perfectly clear picture. So the visual and environmental data are merged into one image which is very powerful. In the performance the same data was used to generate sound. This way the kit can be used as an instrument. The plan is to distribute the kits to artists at different locations, gather all the data and work with the data from the networked kits.
Michal also showed me some other visualisations of (noise) pollution he’s working on. It involves real time erasing of unwanted object (like cars) from camera recordings. That way you get a completely clean street view. The streets only gets filmed when there’re no cars which shockingly meant only a couple of minutes of recording during hours of filming. We share the same irritations and fascinations and might work together in the future.