Fukushima Audio Census (2017) is an interactive artwork designed for the CHI 2017 art program. Live audio is transmitted from strategically placed microphones in the exclusion zone of a contaminated forest located 10 kilometers from the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan. The artwork invited conference attendees to listen to forest sounds, retrieve past recordings, and talk with experts in the field of ecological neutrality. It thus creates a community among listeners at the conference, researchers, and creatures within the exclusion zone.

The artwork is based on Live Sound from Fukushima by researchers Kobayashi Lab and Hiromi Kudo at the Center for Spatial Information Science (CSIS) at The University of Tokyo, Chiba, Japan.

Live Sound from Fukushima was originally designed to help scientists such as Ishida Ken in placing portable digital recording devices to capture vocalizations of specific animals in the wild [1]. The system is comprised of microphones and transmission stations strategically placed in a contaminated forest within the exclusion zone, located 10 km from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (F1NPS).

The artwork is comprised of two separate subsystems: The Field Encoding System, used to digitize live sounds from within the forests, and the Streaming/Archiving System to conduct live sound delivery via the Internet and to archive sound data in the form of archived files. Technical architecture and operational implications of the system have been discussed previously in [2].

This project is part of a larger collaboration with scientists to collect, share, and analyze the sound- scape data from over 500 locations in the exclusion. The artwork will allow conference attendees to experience the soundscape through a mobile application, thus virtually situating them in relation to the “non-site” of the Fukushima exclusion zone.

1. 1. Ken Ishida. 2013. Contamination of Wild Animals: Effects on Wildlife in High Radioactivity Areas of the Agricultural and Forest Landscape. in Nakanishi, T.M. and Tanoi, K. eds. Agricultural Implications of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident, Springer Japan, 119-129.
2. Hiroki Kobayashi. 2010. Basic Research in Human- Computer-Biosphere Interaction Department of Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies, Division of Engineering, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.