April 9, 2020


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Echoes is a sonified three-dimensional map that uses cymatics to showcase the activity of each NuVu hub around the world. It aims to connect and bring together all the NuVu partner schools through the visualization of sound. The project marked the launch of our first NuVuX Student Exchange between partner schools. Students from NuVu and our partner Kamehameha Schools in Hawaii, collaborated on the project over a 2 month period and ended the joint studio with a physical exchange.

NuVu Seniors, Maddie, Chris and Tinna, began working on Echoes as part of the Soundscapes studio in which students created site-specific sound sculptures to activate the lawn outside of the Cambridge Public Library. The senior chose to continue their project as part of their Senior Exchange Studio. Working in partnership with students from NuVuX partner, Kamehameha Schools in Hawaii, the three seniors spent 3 months developing the concept, designing, building and planning for the installation of a sound-based piece based on KS's campus. The Studio culminated in a week-long trip to Maui in early March lead by Amanda, one of our amazing Coaches. During that trip, Maddie, Chris and Tinna installed the final piece, and presented Echoes in a final exhibition alongside KS students who had created projects as part of the virtual exchange.

About Echoes

Echoes is comprised out of a table-sized dish, speakers, and liquid. Under the liquid-filled dish, the speakers are placed where the NuVu hubs would be on a traditional map. When activated, each speaker plays a distinct audio clip from each NuVu partner school. The frequencies of the audio clips cause the liquid to vibrate in intricate ways, which causes the ripples from the vibrations from each hub to collide and merge into one, showcasing and promoting the connection of the schools.

Cycles of 24-hour recordings taken at the individual NuVu hubs are played through the speakers. Depending on the activity and time of the NuVu location, the sound exiting the speakers will activate the ferrofluid above and stimulate cymatics. When people are active at a NuVu location during the day, the cymatics above the continent are heightened based on the ambient noise level. When it is night-time in that time zone, the ambient noise level is not high enough to activate the cymatics. When two close-by locations are active at the same time, these waves interfere with each other, creating a new pattern, and showing the potential connection between the two spaces. Through this 24-hour cycle, Echoes generates an engaging visual representation of NuVu's activity all over the world.