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Algaphon

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One of the biggest challenges of our time is for humans to really understand how does a human action propagate through another complex natural system? What is the difference between human and ecological time? We designed an hybrid online-offline installation called Algaphon, wherein algae bubbles that ring at minnaert frequency near algal filaments are rendered audible through a hydrophone. The installation comprises of aquariums in Tokyo, New York and Linz, each with different species of algae. The aquarium lighting is connected to participatory action -- Online visitors leave a voice dialog that is translated into photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) variations in a remote aquarium. The algae bubble response to this human speech is then recorded and emailed back to the visitor for them to engage in a reflective dialog with algal species.

Hydrophone dipped in aquarium with Red Ogo algae. Bubbles shown in real-time as they release from the filaments and produce ringing sounds

Algaphon aquarium setup shown here with custom lighting, Sea Lettuce algae in water and dipped grounding plus hydrophones

Sea Lettuce photo captured in the moment just before bubble release during photosynthesis. These bubbles don't follow a straight path when released. Instead the shaking is translated into a circular movement as they move upwards thus producing a shaking sound

A visitor shown here recording their sounds during an offline showcase. These voice recordings are queued to an active aquarium and played over the aquariums after conversion to light radiation.

Screenshot of online live stream played around the world, as the visitor audio recordings were processed through aquariums and algae photosynthesis bubble response played.

Screenshot of partial email response received by a visitor after their bubble response recording to their input has been completed. Photo shows response in algae time as well as in human time inviting visitor to reflect on the differences between them and other organisms

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