Ambient Shipping

Over 100 million shipping containers travel the ocean each year, trailing data along with fuel exhaust. What if you listened to it?

Ambient shipping🚢📡 is a design intervention that enables participants to listen to the contents of cargo ships as they float by. Installed on a beach overlooking New York Harbor in 2017, Ambient Shipping uses a software generated voice to read aloud the contents of each ship’s containers as it floats by. Utilizing software defined radios and public cargo import records, Ambient Shipping sonifies global trade and provides a site specific context to consider the networks of material objects circulating the world.

Ambient Shipping grew out of a residency of the More&More Unlimited collective on New York’s Governor’s Island in collaboration with Surya Mattu, Sarah Rothberg and Marina Zurkow and it was made possible with support from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.