less lurid less the sky
in collaboration with Alex Young
All around us in the air, plants emit volatile airborne compounds, signaling to other plants and insects. Notice the smokestack, the exhaust pipe, the heating vent: clouds of vapor and chemicals pluming into this shared airspace. We are signaling, too.
less lurid less the sky, on view from August 6 to September 3, 2023 at The Chute–a coal chute project space in Pittsburgh’s Mexican War Streets neighborhood–interprets volatile plant and industrial airborne signaling from air quality sensors and rebroadcast them via encoded emoji SMS messages to subscribers.
The Chute displayed: 1) a poem translated into both emoji and text, using hyperlocal air quality data and poems from Ernest Howard Crosby’s 1905 book Broad-Cast, etched onto metal and embedded into a locally-gathered lump of petroleum coke and 2) calling cards with the poem, and directions to subscribe to daily emoji poems translating hourly air quality readings.
IX Interactions Magazine, Association for Computing Machinery, Exit, January/February 2023, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp. 76. Invited by Nia Easley.
Photos by Alex Young