GROW Observatory soil data audiovisual

by Drew Hemment

Artistic representation of GROW Observatory soil moisture, texture, temperature and light data.

GROW Observatory (Horizon 2020) commissioned digital artist Kasia Molga and sound artist Scanner to explore how art can inspire imaginative public engagement in soil science and the Copernicus programme. They developed with By the Code of Soil, an online networked digital artwork, launched on 5th December 2018, as part of the GROW Observatory’s World Soil Day celebrations. It entails an application for personal computers which creates a unique audio-visual rendition of soil moisture, texture, temperature and light data from the cluster of GROW sensors in closest proximity to the user. The artwork is displayed when triggered by the transition of Sentinel-1a overhead. This means it is live twice in each 24 hour period, encouraging people to reflect on the instrumentation of Earth observation. The artwork also represents soil's dynamic nature, the sound and visuals transforming to reflect the changing soil condition. The artists chose to highlight the way in which the condition of soils is dictated by many factors which are beyond human volition. In representing the crowd-sourced GROW data, the artistic work was the first implementation of the GROW data platform, and as such contributed to innovation in the Horizon 2020 project. In association with Vertigo STARTS (H2020).