Citizen Science, Installation, 2019.


A digital to analog translation: For this project I was interested in utilizing the data from app-based citizen science projects. These projects involve gathering of scientific observations and are open to public participation, requiring little-to-no prior knowledge to take part. This collective gathering of knowledge is highly interesting to me, and particularly in the case of environmental concerns, this hyper-localized information is very useful. The data collected is often made accessible to the public. I was interested in trying to represent these small pieces of information, compiled by amateurs, which add up to something powerful once combined.

I combined data from two different apps, which both recorded users’ observations about the sky: The Globe Observer, which records types of obscured sky conditions such as smoke, dust, or haze, and Globe at Night, which records the magnitude of visible stars, and informs about light pollution. Alone, each piece of information does not have much significance, but together they tell a great deal about the small, but alarming changes taking place in the atmosphere.

A latitude/longitude grid was measured corresponding to the pattern of the bricks at the installation site. Pieces of data were represented with organic, leafy shapes which would appear to be growing out from gaps in the brick wall, representing the breakthroughs that are possible through collectively gathering these unassuming pieces of information. I assigned a different shape to each set of data, and color coded the different values. Rather than visualizing a known set of data, I created a system that I added to as I went along, and which could be infinitely added to as new participants recorded their data in the apps, resulting in a sprawling, textural form.

Kristin Smith     ︎     Chicago, IL