“Metopia” presented by Sjuve


Presentation Title:

  • Metopia



  • This paper describes Metopia, a work in progress, a project that traces constant shift in air pollution in the environment, using generative principles and sonification to address the problems of the relation between humans, technology and the environment with its growing climate problem. The paper describes the first prototype, a wireless sensor network, where sound is used as a strategy for humans to experience the data from the measured ambient air-pollution. Not only air-pollution is invisible, but also the data from the measurements. Metopia addresses the concept of disruption from several aspects, which are described below.
    What we breath have a continuous impact on our bodies and on our behavior. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated 3.7 million deaths from ambient air-pollution in 2012 [1]. Considering health issues and the destructive impact air-pollution have on the human health and body, Metopia addresses the air-pollution as disruptive to our systems. This problem is a wicked problem as describes by Horst Rittel [4], with not one solution, but an effort by everybody is required. Considering all aspects of this environmental and indeterminate problem, there is not one solution to this problem. Metopia is a hack, hacking the environment, tapping into the larger system, the urban operating system [2], [3], [5], [6] and is proposed to function as critical tool in the divers discussions around Anthropocene and its different frameworks, where aspects of social, cultural, political and economical dimensions are intertwined. It is in the intersection of science, creativity, culture, politics and economics where disruption takes place.
    Metopia, this autonomous sensor system, is using generative principles to communicate complex processes in an indeterminate atmosphere. Various sensor are used to measure the environmental impact of air-pollution. In the project Metopia, the complex processes in our environment are examined using data from a versatile arrangement of sensors. The changes in toxic levels in the environment are used as meta-data in a sound composition, using generative principles. Metopia is work in progress and will be tested in urban space, with a start in July. The plan is to bring a working prototype to Vancouver and run tests in the wild, during ISEA2015, to sonify the air-pollution around the location of the conference.

    [1] World Health Organisation (WHO). [online] www.who.int/gho/phe/en/ (Accessed March 1, 2105)
    [2] Sjuve, E. (2014) ISEA2014, Zayed University, Dubai, UAE
    [3] Sjuve, E. (2014) Metopia: Pollutants: Matter: Sonification. Internet of Things: The Philosophy, York: St. Johns University, UK
    [4] Rittel, H., Webber, M. (1973) Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning. Policy Sciences (4) pp. 155-169
    [5] Sjuve, E. (2010) Sonic Activation: Spectral Architectural Memories. Media City International Scientific Conference. Bauhaus University, Weimar, DE.
    [6] Sjuve, E. (2013) Tap into the Urban Operating System. Hybrid City ll Conference. University Research Institute of Applied Communication (URIAC), National and Kapodistrian University, Athens, Greece