Perhaps you have lived on a busy street with constant traffic or near a train track— somewhere where noise pollution is evident in everyday life. The longer you live with noise pollution the more it becomes background noise, and carbon that’s emitted with it is rarely- if ever- thought about because, like noise pollution, carbon emittance is also a background part of everyday life. In 2018, Chinese artist honh1m (Chris Cheung) created an immersive kinetic soundscape exhibit called CarbonScape to help people visualize CO2 levels in the atmosphere and the individual events that cause carbon emittance. The exhibit is set up so when an observer walks in they will see a bamboo-like field of tall hollow plexiglass tubes each containing a black ‘carbon’ foam sphere. Each of the tubes contains a one minute long synthesized acoustic sample collected from a source where a carbon footprint has been left.  As the observer walks through they will hear the sounds of a jet engine, steam escaping through pipes in a factory, and the horn of a ship and with soundwaves pushing the black ‘carbon’ ball up the tube, with greater carbon-emitting sounds representatively suspending the ball higher up off the ground. The carbon level data used comes from the national oceanic and atmospheric administration (NOAA). CarbonScape is designed for the observers to listen to each individual track and its associated carbon pollution before experiencing the entire soundscape as a whole, speaking to the industrialization of the planet and fossil fuel consumption. With this immersive experience, honh1m hopes to foster new perspectives to reimagine what our positions as humans are and could be on Earth before reaching the next tipping point.

Grozdanic, L. (2018, February 7). This kinetic installation uses sound to visualize the world’s CO2 emissions.


Climate Change, Data, Psychology