Dorsey Kaufmann

Dorsey Kaufmann

WONDER HOUSE @ SXSW 2022 Experience:

Ripple Effect Installation and Films
Dorsey will be available for questions in the Digital Oasis

Friday, Saturday and Sunday, March 13–15
Digital Oasis and SurroundScape
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.


Ripple Effect is an interactive art exhibition that visualizes Tucson water quality data through sound, light, and water. Through software technology, water contamination levels are translated into sound waves. The installation consists of speakers that play the ‘data sound tracks’, which vibrate the water held in attached trays. The sonic vibrations create unique patterns to emerge in the water, known as water cymatics. Participants hear and see the water vibrate based on the chemical concentrations in their water samples. Ripple Effect travels to communities that neighbor resource extraction activity and aims to transform the way people understand their data in relation to their environment. Although the samples are from Arizona, such levels of contamination exist around the globe.


Dorsey Kaufmann actively challenges boundaries by investigating the parallels and intersections between art, environmental science, and policy. She works in time-based media such as video, performance art, and 3-D installations. Her practice examines the conflict among corporations that extract natural resources for profit, governments that use politics to facilitate corporate accumulation, and the environmental and bodily health of local communities. Her work visualizes how these tensions and perceptions constantly define and redefine the state of our natural environment and its resulting state of contamination and waste. She is interested in the way art can be used to translate our surrounding environment and reveal the complex histories of place. Dorsey looks to design creative solutions outside of for-profit value systems in order to build a sustainable and just society.

Reflecting on the minutiae of how society is choreographed, she considers the design and sequencing of daily life by questioning the freedoms, limitations, and contradictions assigned to movement (of bodies, product, and/or capital). She is interested in the way art can be used to translate our surrounding environment and reveal the complex histories of place.

Dorsey has received numerous awards for her artwork, including the University of Arizona School of Art’s Marcia Grand Centennial Sculpture Award, the UA College of Fine Art’s Medici Scholar Award, and the French National Center’s Interdisciplinary and Global Environmental Studies Award. Her work has been shown at Biosphere 2, Tucson Museum of Contemporary Art, Harpa Kaldalón in Reykjavik, Iceland, the James and Anne Duderstadt Gallery in Michigan, Arts in the Public Sphere in Boston, MA, Arts Environments in Athens, GA, and for the College Art Association in New York and Los Angeles. She has published in the International Journal of Science Education and the Journal of Risk Research.

She earned an MFA from the School of Art at the University of Arizona and worked in Dr. Ramírez-Andreotta’s Integrated Environmental Science and Health Risk Laboratory.