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  • Marjolein Vanoppen

SOCORRO at ACM Creativity & Cognition


In June, we showcased SOCORRO at the international 2022 ACM Creativity & Cognition Conference in Venice, Italy. The city is well known for its close relationship with water and the integrated network of canals where stone, wood, and steel infrastructure meet. Hence the city was the ideal backdrop to present one of our exhibits, showcasing corrosive effects of water on metal infrastructure.


The conference took place at the Isola of San Servolo - 10 minutes away from the city centre, and brought together scientists, designers, artists, educators, and researchers to understand how people engage with computation and technology. The “Future Cities” exhibition was presented as part of the conference, curated by Silvia Casini, Camila Salvaneschi and Vlad Kolzeev. It was open to the public for a week and located in the striking Sala del Camino, a space run by the Istituzione Fondazione Bevilacqua la Masa, in the island of Guidecca. This area of Venice is away from touristic paths, and locals actually still live there.

The theme of the exhibition focused how cities which are in close contact with water are affected by environmental factors and may even vanish in the future. The exhibition combined a diverse array of multi-media and multi-sensory installations and exhibits, ranging from sonification and visualisation of water quality, to physicalisation of data in the form of glass and sound sculptures, to artificial intelligence visualisations of morphing landscapes, to 3D printed and laser projections that visualise the risks of rising sea levels.


We were invited to present the interactive installation "zones of flow (version 3.2)”, developed by Rocio von Jungenfeld and the SOCORRO team at the University of Kent, which consists of a fleet of origami paper boats, light sensors, light dependent resistors, speakers, a projector, and an infrared camera that senses human presence and movement in the space and feeds these data back into the system, manipulating the projected visuals and soundscape, which are reminiscent of water flows, corrosion and vessels.

Our interactive installation uses technology and computation to make people aware of the risks of corrosion and mitigate damage to infrastructure and was a great fit for the exhibition, its theme, and venue. Installing "zones of flow (version 3.2)” and sharing the SOCORRO project at "Future Cities” offered us an opportunity to converse with visitors and test our approach to communicating the science behind corrosion. What we gathered from these conversations was that people gained new insights into the field and into the urgent need to address the risk of corrosion.


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