Listening to the Earth
As has been seen in recent Hurricane disasters, many lives can depend on the interpretation of global information. Developing a language or series of languages for communicating this mass of data must evolve, and part of that evolution must include the work of artists. The interpretation and presentation of data using sound is part of a growing movement in what is called data sonification. Like its more popular counterpart, data visualization, sonification transforms data in an attempt to communicate meaning. Andrea Polli presents her sonification research interpreting actual and simulated data that describe local and global climates.
Andrea Polli is a digital media artist living in New Mexico. Her work addresses issues related to science and technology in contemporary society. She is interested in global systems, the real time interconnectivity of these systems, and the effect of these systems on individuals. Polli's work with science, technology and media has been presented widely in over 100 presentations, exhibitions and performances internationally, has been recognized by numerous grants, residencies and awards including UNESCO. Her work has been reviewed by the Los Angeles Times, Art in America, Art News, NY Arts and others. She has published two book chapters, several audio CDs, DVDs and many papers in print including MIT Press and Cambridge University Press journals.
She currently works in collaboration with atmospheric scientists to develop systems for understanding storm and climate through sound (called sonification). Recent projects include: a spatialized sonification of highly detailed models of storms that devastated the New York area; a series of sonifications of climate in Central Park; and a real-time multi-channel sonification and visualization of weather in the Arctic. She has exhibited, performed, and lectured nationally and internationally and recently spent seven weeks in Antarctica on a National Science Foundation funded project.
As a member of the steering committee for New York 2050, a wide-reaching project envisioning the future of the New York City region, she worked with city planners, environmental scientists, historians and other experts to look at the impact of climate on the future of human life both locally and globally.
She has received a Master of Fine Arts in Time Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and in 2000, she was voted Teacher of the Year at Columbia College in Chicago in recognition of her work connecting students to the wider community through collaborative projects. These projects included performances and exhibitions at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art and a large scale public art project connecting 5 neighborhood arts organizations with live web streaming, an exhibition at the Chicago Cultural Center and six billboards. Pause. was featured as the Millennium Community Artwork for Illinois and funded by The Mid Atlantic Arts Council and Ameritech.
Polli is currently an Associate Professor in Fine Arts and Engineering at The University of New Mexico and Director of the Interdisciplinary Film and Digital Media Program at the University. From 2005-2008 she served as the Director of the Integrated Media Arts Masters of Fine Arts Program at Hunter College/CUNY. She is co-chair of the Leonardo Education Forum, an affiliate of the MIT Press and the College Art Association of America (CAA) that promotes the advancement of research and academic scholarship at the intersections of art, science, and technology and co-chair of the New York Society for Acoustic Ecology, a multi-disciplinary group exploring the urban sound environment and a chapter of the American and World Forums for Acoustic Ecology.