John Kleinschmidt
Drip: The Music of Water in New Orleans

Union Passenger Terminal
New Orleans, LA

With Andy Sternad
Water simultaneously sustains and threatens New Orleans, but it is hidden behind floodwalls and buried underground. Between river and lake, life depends upon a delicate balance between culture, economy, and natural systems. Drip reveals the mystery of water in New Orleans through just one sense: the sound of water.
In this interactive installation, sound-sensitive LEDs react to hundreds of field-recordings of water as well as noises made by visitors to create an environment that varies constantly between serene and chaotic, dim and bright. Sometimes the lights flicker for a single dripping faucet, and other times they flash wildly when a steamboat whistle punctuates a bustling oyster bar or a drawbridge in motion.
Drip was installed in an empty hall at the New Orleans Amtrak Station, and was commissioned by AIA New Orleans for DesCours, an annual art and architecture event sponsored by AIA New Orleans that highlights little-used and rarely-visited urban spaces. A version of Drip was later exhibited at the New Orleans Contemporary Arts Center.