Designing the Post Natural - Measuring Device - Cementing Noise Pollution

Of the negative environmental effects caused by human activity, noise pollution tends to be one that receives relatively less focus. However the effects of artificial noise on both humans and other lifeforms are being increasingly uncovered. In an urban environment like New York City, one of the main causes of this noise is the seemingly constant construction taking place in all corners of the five boroughs. In addition to the harm caused by the construction noise itself, it also tends to be one of the most pervasive signifiers of this activity which is inextricably tied to issues of gentrification, displacement and mismanagement of government funds. Because of all of this, I intend to focus on measuring this specific form of noise pollution with the goal of making it more concrete (pun intended) and visible.

What intend to build is a two part device meant to be placed at or outside of a construction site. The first part will be a listening device, capturing audio levels (and possibly vibrations) at the location. This will be attached to some sort of water dispensing device suspended above a bucket full of dry cement. The entire contraption will co-opt the aesthetics of construction, both to undercut the normality of these things in our lives as well as help keep it inconspicuous.

The way it will work, on a basic level, is that the more noise is being produced by the site, the more water will be dispensed into the cement. Over a set period of time this will run, and once that time is up, I will allow the cement to harden and then remove what will hopefully have become an abstract, organic cement sculpture. Performing this at different construction sites (and possibly in quieter, more undeveloped spaces) will allow for a series of sculptures which each represent a different location and its subsequent contribution to the noise pollution of the city.