Media Art and the Environment is a new course in the School of Creative Media at City University of Hong Kong that brings together environmental sciences and contemporary media art.  The course explores how emerging technologies can collect data about nature and how that data can be used in new forms of creativity and visualization.
In March 2012, 15 of the brightest students from SCM travelled to California to meet with scientists at the top laboratories at UCLA and then onward to the extreme environment of the Mojave Desert to ‘read’ the nature there using computational sensing technologies. The images, statistics and datasets collected by the students were transformed into nine artworks that reveal how the creative arts can contribute to the global conversation about climate change and sustainability.
The project strongly supports key CityU initiatives: developing a discovery-enriched curriculum, fostering interdisciplinary Art and Science collaborations, and making international contacts and experiences for our students. This course is a prototype for creating more immersive educational experiences and teaching fieldwork as a form of discovery.  Instead of research performed in a library or online, students become the front line in finding the data needed for their artworks by trekking to remote, difficult sites with the same sensors and computational tools used by environmental scientists.  Nature is no longer just the inspiration; it is a participant in the artistic process.