Ripple Effect – Let water be water: an a2ru Emerging Creatives Student Challenge Grant Project

Saturday, November 3, 2:15-3:45pm

Arizona is home to many active and legacy mining sites. People in rural parts of Arizona adjacent to these sites are more likely to be exposed to groundwater contamination. Traditional means of distributing information to them about the risks to their health haven’t changed their behavior of well water consumption. This a2ru student challenge grant project, Ripple Effect, explores alternative, non-traditional means of communicating environmental data to communities that live in close proximity to hazardous waste sites. Ripple Effect is a multimedia art installation that uses technology to translate water quality data into sound waves. The installation has trays of water sitting on top of music speakers. Each speaker connects to an amplifier that plays the soundtrack of the data, meaning participants hear and see the water vibrate based on their chemical concentrations. The project goal is to deliver information to Arizona communities in ways that inspire positive action that can mitigate their health risks and increase their Environmental Health Literacy.  Through surveying methods, this project will evaluate how collaborative art and science experiences designed for underserved populations impact environmental education and how communities respond to viewing their personalized environmental monitoring data through non-traditional formats.


Dorsey Kaufmann is a MFA candidate Illustration and Design at the School of Art at the University of Arizona and works in Dr. Ramírez-Andreotta’s Integrated Environmental Science and Health Risk Laboratory as an Information Designer.  Dorsey examines the most effective and purposeful means of data communication, evaluates the ways in which people receive and understand information about environmental quality and the potential exposure to contaminants near hazardous waste sites, and how design incites more informed citizens and behavioral changes. She is interested in the way art can work across disciplines, communicate information in a more experiential and community-integrated way, and build public participation and relationships. Through more experimental forms of data sharing, she hopes build a dialogue around the many factors that impact environmental data-sets and how these factors directly affect people’s body, health, and environment.


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