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Iowa Artist Makes Music from Lake Okoboji Water Data

courtesy of Alex Braidwood
Alex Braidwood

Have you ever wondered what a healthy lake sounds like?

Iowa based sound artist Alex Braidwood has. While he was working as an artist-in-residence for the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory Regents Resource Center, a biological field station and nature preserve in Northwest Iowa, he devised a way to listen to the water.

He’s taken data being collected by a buoy floating in Lake Okoboji about water temperature and oxygen levels and has assigned each of the data points tones.

“You hear things that change over a longer time scale and some that change on a shorter time scale. For example, you can kind of hear when a day happens; one of the sounds you can hear is the changing surface temperature. Then there are sounds that you can hear over multiple weeks or the course of the season,” he explains.

Braidwood is continuing to collect data from different buoys, both in Iowa and around the world, and hopes to help both scientists and the public understand water data in a new way through his work. During this Talk of Iowa interview, he talks with host Charity Nebbe. 

Lindsey Moon is IPR's Senior Digital Producer
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa