Sound The Mound

Addressing Complex Issues through Art, Technology, and Ecology


John Roach (Project lead), Full-time faculty at Parsons School of Design
Andrew Shea (Project lead), Full-time faculty at Parsons School of Design
Mariel Villere (Project Partner), Manager for Programs, Arts and Grants for Freshkills Park
Adam Wolf (Project Partner), CEO Arable
Jess Bollinger (Project Partner), Head of Special Projects, Arable

+ Students from Transdisciplinary Design, PROJECTS STUDIO 1


Parsons School of Design. Transdisciplinary Design




Transdisciplinary Design PROJECTS STUDIO 1, Fall 2016


In progress (Start date: 08/09/2016)







"Sound the Mound” is a project developed by students from the Transdisciplinary Department as part of their core PROJECTS STUDIO 1 course. In this course, they address complex issues of climate, sanitation, landfill reclamation, public parks, cellular technology, public art, sonification and more. The course involves two key partnerships: the first is with Freshkills Park, a reclaimed landfill in Staten Island that was the world’s largest—almost three times the size of Central Park (2200 acres)—and the largest park developed in New York City in over 100 years. The second collaboration is with Arable, a remote monitoring technology developed for crop management that uses sensors and cellular data to measure and communicate rainfall, crop water demand, water stress, microclimate, canopy biomass, etc.

In the first part of this course, students developed three projects that translate environmental data into sensory experiences that make the park more vibrant and enjoyable by inviting New Yorkers to explore it remotely or on site:

The first project, "Botanical Transmissions," is a curious exploration of the effects and possibilities of blending design, sound, and data in order to complement nature. Our Anthropocene questions the responsibility of humans as bystanders and encourages us to nurture nature.

Next, "Vitality Rhythm" is a sensory experience for perceiving the vibes of nature. It gives people at Freshkills Park the opportunity to form an empathetic and emotional connection with nature.

Lastly, "Replay Fest" acknowledges that Freshkills Park is a great symbol of renewal, but also highlights that the waste is now going to another place. Therefore, the problem of the landfills still remains. What we urgently need to change is the waste system and our consumer behavior, and education is the most effective way to transform people’s perceptions and actions.

“REPLAY”, a follow-up course to Sound the Mound, will be taught in the Fall of 2017.