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Andrea Polli, "Airlight Taipei", video still from sound and video installation, Taipei Artist Village, Taiwan, 2006.

Andrea Polli

New York City based artist Andrea Polli, transforms global weather and air pollution data into mesmerizing video and sound installations. Streaming sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide and ozone information from urban areas, as well as lightning, wave and wind data from the Pacific and Arctic Oceans are converted into sound and paired with computer and webcam visuals. The effect is immediate and haunting, a reminder of the countless invisibles our lives depend on.

Many of Polli's works rely on a process called "sonification", which directly translates raw data into hissing, buzzing, high-pitched sounds. She works with urban planners, atmospheric scientists and pollution experts to look at the relationships between humans and local and global climate change. "Airlight Taipei" (2006), for example, is a networked installation using real-time EPA air quality data from the city of Taipei, translated into sound and then passed through a projected real-time image taken from a highway traffic camera. "The result is an image that breaks up as air pollutants increase," creating "a rhythmic pulse that transforms throughout the day."

Other projects, such as "T2" (2006) provide "an artistic exploration of real time ocean activity using wave and wind data, webcams from the West Coast of the US and East Coast of New Zealand, and a live global ocean conservation news feed." The result is an immersive installation where visual, acoustic, scientific and political streams collide to "increase awareness and appreciation of the beauty, power and importance of the ocean in a warming world."

For Andrea Polli, weather and atmospheric conditions "are fascinating and really seem to be somewhat invisible but, at the same time, they're so incredibly powerful. And sound is very similar: it's invisible, it's in the air and it unfolds over time. There's just something intangible about both... So, as an artist, I'm playing with that concept, of images appearing and disappearing. This is an aspect of using aesthetic means to talk about our environment."


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