Grant #450

Sounding the Invisible: An Elegant Symbiosis

May 17, 2021

Can Art Save The Planet? No? How About Art Plus Science?

We admit it, we might not be smart enough to understand this project.

Nandita Kumar is creating Sounding the Invisible: An Elegant Symbiosis, an art installation “based on archiving and collating information on forty Phytoremediation plants and sonifies the varied pollutants absorbed by these plants in water bodies.”

Translation: Nandita’s main research question explores how different displays and interactive strategies can be used to stimulate people’s involvement with issues of environmental health and scientific data, particularly focusing on critical ‘water’ related issues. The installation is a representative model of these forty plants selected and explores a cost-effective plant-based approach of remediation, in which the chosen plants can specifically grow in the tropical and temperate zones where most low-income economies are found.

If we hadn’t already funded a Mushroom Death Suit (spores in a burial shroud grow into toxic-mitigating mushrooms) and the Vagina Chorus (creating sounds based on internal pressure), we’d wouldn’t think this was possible. We do hope Nandita’s plans to create this traveling art installation will finally come to fruition as the world opens up again. She’s working on a book to accompany the exhibit, which archives data on 40 different contemporary pollutants and their representative plants which remediate the pollutants found in water.  The book explores the impact of the pollutants on the human body, different plants which absorb these pollutants, and further expands on each plant’s medicinal and additional uses so that these plants can be incorporated into our day-to-day and simultaneously develop a high-impact sustainable cycle. There’s promise in the premise of using plants to clean up polluted water, and if this helps more people to become aware of the possibilities, we’d say that’s awesome. Our Awesome Without Borders grant will help develop the interactive part of the exhibit. We’d explain it to you, except we think you’d have more fun letting Nandita tell you about this project herself.

Category: Art, Community, Education, Environment, Music, Preservation, Science, Technology



After 11+ years, we’re signing off and closing applications for good. We’ve supported 571 projects with $571,000 in grant dollars. We’re so proud to have celebrated such incredible work. Please visit for more information on other AWESOME chapters! And thanks for sharing so much awesomeness with us.

Team Awesome Without Borders