Texts Gone Wild

amphibious_1-web Have you ever wondered what a miscellaneous school of fish in the Bronx or East River was up to? OK, me neither. But how about José the Beaver? Thanks to some nerds from Columbia and NYU, keeping track of the city’s aquatic wildlife is not only possible, but also remarkably easy. In addition to watching motion activated buoys light up as fish or maritime mammals pass by at Pier 35, the Amphibious Architecture project makes it possible to receive SMS updates from the underwater creatures. Just text “EastRiver” or “BronxRiver” to 41411. So why would anyone care to do engage nature with technology?

Basically, cause “Do Not Disturb” signs suck (and the public loves a good gimmick). From the project’s website:

Instead of treating the rivers with a “do-not-disturb” approach, the project encourages curiosity and engagement. Instead of treating the water as a reflective surface to mirror our own image and our own architecture, the project establishes a two-way interface between environments of land and water. In two different neighborhoods of New York, the installation creates a dynamic and captivating layer of light above the surface of the river. It makes visible the invisible, mapping a new ecology of people, marine life, buildings, and public space and sparking public interest and discussion.

The Amphibious Architecture project is part of the Toward the Sentient City exhibit that opened this week and runs through November 7th.