14 April | 13:00 - 17:00


  • Level: introductory
  • Costs: 45€ (3h / 1day)
  • Max number of participants: 15 people
  • Built device: DIY speaker using magnets and copper wire, amp 
  • Tickets on Eventbrite: click here
  • Contact: 

Sound is our perception of vibrations travelling through the air - or water. We detect these with our ears, but we can also sense them using touch, which adds another aspect to our appreciation of the vibrations, and gets us closer to understanding the way that underwater creatures perceive sound. Bring your choice of hackable surface with you and during the workshop we will turn it into a simple DIY speaker that can play our hydrophone recordings. It can be anything from a sheet of paper to a plastic bucket - let’s experiment!

The Hydrophone (Ancient Greek ὕδωρ = water and φωνή = sound) is a microphone designed for listening to and recording sound underwater. Hydrophones are based on piezoelectric transducers that generate electricity in response to changes in pressure. housed in a water resistant membrane or ceramic enclosure that facilitate the capture of vibrations, They are quite specialist equipment and usually quite expensive and difficult to get hold of. We will show you how to build a simple simple DIY hydrophone for underwater aural exploration.

Underwater noise pollution, intense human-generated noise in the marine environment, is the contemporary reality of our industrialized oceans. Noise pollution levels have steadily risen over the last 50 years thanks to increasing use of cargo traffic, sonar, explosives, oceanographic experiments, use of sound cannons to look for oil etc, posing a significant threat to marine life and biodiversity.

This noise can cause temporary and permanent hearing loss or impairment, strandings and beachings, disruption of feeding patterns, breeding, nursing, communication, sensing and other behaviors, and in trying to avoid it many species are displaced from their preferred habitat.

The world’s seas and oceans cover more than 70% of the Earth’s surface. 97% of it is saltwater, 2% is fresh water in the form of ice, and only the remaining 1% is drinking water, distributed around the planet very unevenly. Exploration of any ecosystem requires detailed study and observation. As the ocean is a complex and harsh environment, accessing it requires specially designed tools and technology.

It is only in recent years that the technology has advanced to a point where we can examine the ocean in a systematic, scientific, and non invasive way. Our ability to observe the ocean environment and its resident creatures has finally caught up with our imaginations, in turn enabling us to understand it in ways that we could not even have imagined before.

about the workshop holders

Kat Austen is a succession of experiences and an assemblage of aspirations. She is also a person. Based in Berlin, her interactive works explore embodied routes into themes of environment, social justice and digital culture, exploring networks of unseen influence and truth-seeking actions through multimedia experiential means and DIY knowledge-making interventions. She is a Cultural Fellow in Art and Science at the Cultural Institute, University of Leeds, lectures at University College London’s Bachelor’s Arts and Sciences BASc, is Artist in the Arctic for Friends of SPRI, University of Cambridge, and is Artist in Residence in UCL’s Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences. She has a PhD in environmental chemistry from UCL.