laura perovich

ArtBoat and SeeBoat

Remote-controlled model boats, light, control board, sensors
Variable Dimensions
2018, 2019

 
A composite long exposure image captures the light trails drawn on the river by many community members throughout the evening at Magazine Beach   ArtBoat: Magazine Beach, 2018 // project: Laura Perovich // photo: Jorge Valdez

A composite long exposure image captures the light trails drawn on the river by many community members throughout the evening at Magazine Beach

ArtBoat: Magazine Beach, 2018 // project: Laura Perovich // photo: Jorge Valdez

 
 
A long exposure image from an early SeeBoat test near the Kendall Cogeneration Station, November 20th, 2015. The change in color from green to yellow is tied to the temperature sensor readings and indicates a potential thermal pollution source near the outflow pipe. New infrastructure and protocols at the plant intended to eliminate thermal pollution were completed in 2016.  SeeBoat: Kendall Cogeneration Station, 2015 // project: Laura Perovich & collaborators // photo: Jorge Valdez

A long exposure image from an early SeeBoat test near the Kendall Cogeneration Station, November 20th, 2015. The change in color from green to yellow is tied to the temperature sensor readings and indicates a potential thermal pollution source near the outflow pipe. New infrastructure and protocols at the plant intended to eliminate thermal pollution were completed in 2016.

SeeBoat: Kendall Cogeneration Station, 2015 // project: Laura Perovich & collaborators // photo: Jorge Valdez

ArtBoat: Magazine Beach is an installation for collective art that activates public green-blue spaces using light as a medium and the river as a canvas. This work offers the water as a primary site of artistic installation in response to the “Sky Art Conferences” by MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies that used the sky as an installation site.

During ArtBoat installations, communities gather in public parks by the river to create collaborative light paintings on the water. Collaborators use a color-mixing board to make light palettes, which they use to control the color of a remote-controlled ArtBoat. This system acts as a paintbrush on the canvas of the river. Community photographers capture these moments of collective creation, community building, and ownership of public space through long exposure images that provide a new perspective of city space.

SeeBoat combines ArtBoat with water quality sensors to allow communities to paint the river with water quality data and better understand the environmental and climate pressures facing us as a community. 

More installation images and video: artboatcommunity.com

Thanks to Cathie Zusy at Magazine Beach Partners for hosting us in 2018. Thanks to ArtBoat photographers: Jorge Valdez (IG: jorgelvma), Ron Hoffmann (IG: archiscapes.us), Neil Gaikwad (IG: Neil Gaikwad Photography), Aaron Beal, Garance Malivel, Jim Congo, and Jimmy Day and event helpers: Maggie Zhang, Gustavo Santiago-Reyes, Jacqueline Chen, Dan Novy, Chia Evers, Pip Mothersill, Aleks Zosuls, Pedro Colon-Hernandez, Aubrey Simonson, Xavier Mojica, Catherine Hammond, Laura Smith, John Rao, and Nina Lutz. 

Community members create create moonlit light paintings using ArtBoat at Magazine Beach in Cambridge. The project aims to light up rivers to excite and engage local communities about their water and local local blue-green spaces.


ArtBoat: Magazine Beach, 2018 // project: Laura Perovich // video: Jimmy Day

About the Artist

Laura Perovich is a PhD candidate at the MIT Media Lab in the Object Based Media group. Her artistic practice focuses on ways to use art and technology to support environmental action in communities and help people seamlessly engage with science in their everyday lives. Her data physicalizations are informed by her work as a textile artist and seek to create new understandings and emotionally resonant experiences with data and people. Her work can be seen at www.lauraperovich.com.

 

Related City Resources

Water quality in the Charles River and in other local water systems such as Alewife Brook and the Mystic River is impacted when precipitation from rain and snowmelt flows over land and does not soak into the ground.  As stormwater runoff flows over impervious surfaces (paved streets, parking lots, and building rooftops) it drains into catch basins and is discharged, untreated, to the nearby waterway.  Runoff collects debris, oil, pet waste, chemicals, sediment or other pollutants that could adversely affect the quality of waterways.   In older cities like Cambridge, runoff is sometimes conveyed to a combined stormwater and sanitary sewer system.  During significant rain storms combined sewer systems may fill up beyond their capacity with a mixture of sanitary waste and rainwater.  To prevent backups into homes, businesses, and streets, combined sewer overflows (CSOs) act like a relief valve allowing sewerage to discharge directly into nearby waterways. 

Climate change can affect pollutant levels in surface water as the amount and frequency of rainfall changes.  Temperature increases can also affect water quality as warmer water holds less dissolved oxygen needed by aquatic organisms, such as fish, and can lead to more frequent blooms of toxic blue-green algae.  The City of Cambridge is making major financial investments in separating combined sewer systems to reduce CSOs and to treat stormwater runoff through the installation of a combination of grey and green infrastructure, including infiltration, rain gardens, and storage systems.

Cambridge Stormwater Management Program/Department of Public Works: https://www.cambridgema.gov/stormwater

Cambridge Combined Sewer Overflows Program/Department of Public Works: https://www.cambridgema.gov/theworks/ourservices/stormwatermanagement/combinedseweroverflows1

Green Infrastructure Analysis & Urban Heat island Modeling Report: https://www.cambridgema.gov/CDD/Projects/Climate/~/media/E793050A9B0F48ABBFFBF52924A5D58B.ashx