Aaron Wright

Sub Sequence

Building a Participatory Infrastructure;

The thesis sets out to investigate, question, and iterate upon the possibilities of collective environmental action and accessible information through an individual’s sensing practice.

What are non-centralized, human-specific methods of sensing our immediate environment?

The work aims to redefine the sensing practice in daily routine and map the contamination zones of their community.

Simultaneously, the thesis is testing how making illegible ecosystems legible to the observer may result in a shift in one’s perception about one’s environment, generate participatory infrastructures, and, ultimately, cultivate a deeper con- nection to one’s community.


An image of two discreet humans, wearing garments applied with a phase-changing dye that reacts when in contact with volatile organic compounds.

The Discreet Human


An inciting incidence, or recognizing the condition of nebulous pollution affecting one’s body, leaves a concerned party with feelings of distrust about their surrounding environment, as well as feelings of despondency, like there is nothing they can do about it. How can we make our invisible ecosystems visible?


A map of the Port of Providence, showing major polluters in the area.

The Port of Providence


Currently, benzene, black carbon, 1,3 butadiene, and ammonia are not being actively monitored by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, and have no federal air quality standard. Meaning, no limit on emissions, or consequences for emitters.


Tear-away Flyers: Identifying the willingness of self-selectors to participate in hanging tags, posted around Providence, RI.

The Lowest Ask; Creating an Air-Quality Sensor


Over 130 tags have been posted. The process: I have applied phase-changing pigment, suspended in silicon onto each tag. The QR code takes a user to a form where they can answer a question about the area they’ve hung a tag and post a picture.


An abstracted map of the Port of Providence was formed into a digitally embroidered textile and applied with colorimetric gas-sensing pigment to become an active, dynamic sensor.

Digital embroidery, machine knitting, textile

70" x 40"



A vapor chamber to carry out controlled ammonia tests.

A Constructed Vapor Chamber; A Feedback Loop


01: A fish-tank air pump (deconstructed) 02: A humidifier (deconstructed) 03: A sealed container for material tests (constructed) Constructing a vapor chamber out of found parts to explore phase-changing dyes that react to ammonia in a gaseous state.