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The M2 MotorMeter at Macquarie Park is an innovative sculpture and a real-time, working display of motorists’ aural impact on the environment.

Via audio sensors, MotorMeter reads out the sound pressure level generated from passing traffic onto a simple left-to-right bar graph, like the VU (Volume Unit) meter on a home stereo. MotorMeter turns this recognizable graphic expression into a moment of wonder, and of truth. From the privacy of their vehicles, M2 users experience an interactive connection to the outside environment, by seeing their effect on it.

Experience flow chart

Though MotorMeter displays data, it is not a simple sign. The segments of the artwork’s meter display are arranged according to a 2m grid on a series of 28 slender steel poles, 3.3m–9.5m high. It’s a distributed 3-D installation: an unconventional, aesthetically-pleasing assemblage throughout the site of glowing coloured panels.

Motor Meter concept

Upon approach in a vehicle along the M2 from the east or the west, MotorMeter appears to magically gather itself together. At a 75m distance from the sculpture in either direction, the working VU meter visually assembles. The design is extremely site specific: MotorMeter is conceived such that its primary legibility is from the vehicle’s perspective.

Motor Meter View

Due to the anamorphic impossibility of apprehending the ‘meter’ element from all other angles, the fleeting visual delivered by MotorMeter is a profoundly personal moment between the perceiver and the artwork. It is an interface to the world outside the vehicle: an integration of the auditory sense with the visual sense, and of the human engine with the machine engine.