Dirty Water

Uisce Salach

Uisce Salach, Dirty Water


Uisce Salach (Dirty Water) is a collaborative sound art project about contested water issues in Ireland. We are initiating a collaborative art process, creating a significant citizen’s art-science project inspired by water analyses from domestic water supplies, from the River Liffey, its tributaries in Dublin City and from Dublin Port.

The key aim of the project is to enable citizens living and working along the River Liffey to participate in scientific research with creative outcomes. Working with those residents, schools, community organisations, fishing clubs along the river and workers in Dublin Port, the project will synergise arts practice and scientific data through the employment of water sampling and creative technologies in the development of new thinking and new meaning around the sustainability of water resources.


Uisce Salach (Dirty Water) sets out to increase awareness of the environmental, economic and social value of water. Facilitated by Dublin Port to access their networks of community organisations around the port as well as port workers and supported by Create to reach community and interest groups such as fishermen along the River Liffey, Softday is embarking on the project set-up phase which includes an intense social media and communications drive.


Softday will then engage in a series of invitational meetings to further garner interest, inform and engage participants as citizen artists. Deploying an already tested methodology, further honed in a CPD workshop delivered in early 2018 with Create and the Science Gallery, each citizen scientist will receive a test kit and be invited to gather small water samples, which can be from their own kitchen tap, well, local River Liffey tributary, or whichever source of ‘clean’ water that matters to them. Citizen scientists will be asked to make notes of the date, time and exact location of their sample and write a short description of the context of each sample.

Softday will analyse all samples on a specific date and take the data from all the water samples and construct a map with the underlying data sets, as well as producing a unique interactive algorithmic soundart composition. We will collaborate with water testing laboratories that will send us the resulting data, which Softday will transform to produce an auditory display located within a larger multimedia art work that can be manipulated/played both by humans and computers as well as disseminated via web sites and social media platforms.


The world premier of Uisce Salach (Dirty Water) will be performed live by an orchestral ensemble in combination with the publicly constituted “Softday Citizen Scientist Ensemble", (a form of laptop orchestra).


Uisce Salach (Dirty Water) is suported by an Arts Council Arts Participation Project Award 2019.

Irish Arts Council CREATE Ireland Dublin Port Perspectives

Timeline 2019


Public Workshop


Workshops with groups of interest.


Public Soundwalk

Public Water Sampling Day

World Water Day


Public sound walk


Public Scratch Orchestra Workshops


Scratch Orchestra Rehearsals







Public Performance of Uisce Salach


Editing Audio/Visual material


Release of digital artefact