California Drought Impact

Publication Date


Document Type


Exhibition/Performance Dates

June 11-18, 2017

Publication Title

International Symposium on Electronic Arts (ISEA) 2017

Conference Location

Manizales, Colombia


California has been experiencing its most severe drought in the past five years. Drought has affected wáter changes, biological phenomenon and the ecosystem, which has become an inspiration and great resource to artists and designers because it had a significant impact on the sustainability and the environment. These questions and issues have been our inspirations, and we create an interaction tool to depict the causes and impact of the drought and promote awareness of water consumption and ecosystem. California Drought Impact, an interactive multimodal data artwork, visualizes and sonifies multivariate data describing California’s drought using lasercut wooden sculptures and digital visualization with sonification using hand motions and camera tracking. This work aims not only to explore new aesthetically meaningful visualizations but also to allow users to learn about the causes of drought by examining the past and present and predicting the future of the California water system as both an art installation and a potential educational application. It depicts the past, present, and future of the drought by altering water morphology (water metamorphosis), which occurs as a result of climate changes. This data representation also leads to a new media interactive interface utilizing audio synthesis, visualization, and real-time interaction.