Fractured Waves

Colton Hash, 2021

Gallery Controls:

Move: Scroll Wheel / Arrow Keys / WASD Keys

Rotate: Left Click & Drag​

Exhibition Description

Fractured Waves is an interactive data art exhibition that investigates industrial impacts to the Salish Sea and the Great Lakes. This online exhibition is curated as a virtual representation of the Artcite Inc. gallery, where interactive digital media works are seamlessly integrated into an immersive viewing experience. Each artwork presents different datasets for pollution and industrial infrastructure to reflect our cultural relationships to local landscapes.

Viewers can move through the digital gallery to experience generative visuals and a dynamic soundscape. As viewers approach an individual artwork, they transition into the virtual space of the selected composition. 

With restrictions on travel that prevented a physical exhibition as a connection between the Salish Sea and the Great Lakes, Fractured Waves was developed as a virtual alternative to curate a place-based exhibition.

Acoustic Turbulence is an interactive data visualization depicting underwater noise generated from large marine vessels. Photographic elements are animated to create cinematic scenes of ships passing through the Salish Sea. Below the ocean surface are visceral sounds and gestural visualizations of anthropogenic noise pollution. Viewers choose between these divided realms, traversing the separation of our visually oriented perception and the acoustic experience of marine organisms. Acoustic Turbulence immerses viewers in a gestural presentation of scientific data that is otherwise not experienced, fostering empathetic understanding of acoustic impacts to marine life.

Prevalent Echoes is a pair of data driven simulations which approximate carbon emissions from cities surrounding the Salish Sea and Lake St. Clair. Gestural clouds flow from urban centers and industrial facilities as well as positions of large marine vessels. As viewers move farther into this virtual space of Prevalent Echoes, an approximation of marine noise pollution replaces the visualization of greenhouse gas emissions. Prevalent Echoes integrates spatial data for the movements of cargo and chemical tanker ships to create a generative simulation of the cumulative impacts of freight vessels on marine ecosystems. Each visualization is centered on waterways fragmented by industrial shipping and are bisected by the US / Canada border. Both works represent a region at the same scale and include historical climate data to depict local weather patterns. 

Prevalent Echoes connect shipping routes to land based industrial infrastructure, animated with  generative representations of marine noise pollution and greenhouse gas emissions that permeate through these environments. As precise data for this pollution is unavailable, Prevalent Echoes leverages real-time simulations to expose environmental relationships. As viewers transition between data visualizations, they may consider impacts of anthropogenic development on regional ecosystems and the climate.

Derelict Accumulation is a pair of data artworks that depict pollution in the Detroit River. A generative rendering of data from an 8 month water quality study is integrated with photographs of abandoned infrastructure located near each survey site. Derelict Accumulation depicts pollution on two sides of the Detroit River, where sampling locations are separated by Grosse Ile. The survey site near the Trenton Channel Power Plant is located on the US side of the river downstream from Detroit. The parallel site across the border is located near Boblo Island Amusement Park, downstream from Windsor. Data for nitrogen that feed algae blooms, as well as data for plastic, arsenic and DDT, are animated as particles suspended in river water. Derelict Accumulation offers viewers a creative lens to consider local sources of pollution as well as the relationships between urban centres and the Detroit River.

Colton Hash is an emerging artist who currently resides as an uninvited guest on Lekwungen territories of Vancouver Island. Hash’s practice is inspired by the wild and anthropogenic landscapes that surround him. He integrates data visualization into his creative practice to investigate the cumulative impacts of industrial development. He was the inaugural artist-in-residence for Ocean Networks Canada, where he worked with scientists to create interactive data artworks that communicate ecological relationships. Hash received a B.Sc. in Computer Science, Visual Arts and Environmental Studies and is an MFA candidate at the University of Victoria.