Amphibious Architecture Gets People to Interact with River System, Includes Texting Fish


Photos via Amphibious Architecture

The East and the Bronx Rivers in New York are home to a new installation project that offers a "looking glass" into the marine ecosystems of the rivers. The Amphibious Architecture project is a way of connecting humans with the watery world upon which we depend, through an amazing lighting display that reflects the incoming information of attached sensors. As the sensors pick up data on water quality, the presence of fish, and human interest in the water system, the lights tell the story of the interactions and feedback loops are created. An interesting, techy way for fish and people to interact, right? But it doesn't stop there - also thrown into the mix is the ability of humans to text message fish. Yes, text message...and get a response.

It sounds over the top, but actually it's a very intriguing idea: People can text message the fish, and receive back real-time info about the river system. Text fish a "how are you," and you'll get a response. Pretty cool.

Distinctly moving away from the pervasive 'do-not-disturb' approach to urban environmentalism, the project encourages curiosity and engagement. Treating the river water as a reflective surface to mirror our own homo-image and architecture, establishing a two-way interface between the terrestrial and the aquatic. The project thus creates a dynamic and captivating layer of light above the surface of the river, making visible the invisible through real-time mapping of the new ecology of people, marine life, buildings, and public space.

Amphibious Architecture is a project by xClinic Environmental Health Clinic at New York University and the Living Architecture Lab at Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.

You can check out the real-time text messages here, and check out loads of videos showing the installation of the project here.

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Tags: Activism | Arts | Fish

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