ABSTRACT

The goal of Amphibious Architecture, an aquatic installation developed by David Benjamin and Soo-in Yang (The Living) and Natalie Jeremijenko (xDesign Environmental Health Clinic) for the Architectural League of New York’s 2009 exhibition, Toward the Sentient City, is communication among multiple urban species; the approach combines a DIY approach to creating new networked systems and a playful take on urban performance. This installation introduced floating networks of chemical and motion sensors, each connected to an SMS interface, into New York’s East River. The network contains a grid of twenty-five tubular components with a submerged “sensory” assemblage (sonar for detecting fish presence; chemical sensors for assessing levels of dissolved oxygen, nitrates, and the pH of the water; accelerometer for capting hydrodynamic forces). Water data was transmitted to the installation's buoyant LED-clad devices (photovoltaic/battery pack; stack of LED lighting disks) and communicated to the viewer as colored lighting patters and text messages. As submerged sensors monitor aquatic conditions, information was relayed in real-time to LED light displays that glowed in hues ranging from blues and purples to hot pink and reds, adjusting to the changing water data captured by the submerged sensors.