Data Transmutations – Making Sound Sense of Big Data in Neural #48
Over the course of the last 3 year I’ve been contributing to the printed version of the long running, Italian based, Neural magazine, founded by Alessandro Ludovico and Ivan Iusco. The magazine deals with the intersection of new media art, electronic music and hacktivism. I’ve contributed many small articles on artist projects (some reposted at Dataisnature) and conducted interviews with artists and theorists. The most recent edition #48, Uncanny Abundance, contains an essay I wrote on ‘big data sound art’ with the title: Data Transmutations – Making Sound Sense of Big Data.
The article explores both scientific sonification of data, for functional pattern recognition, as well as composers who use environmental data as raw material for parametric audio and as an agent for stochastic composition. It surveys the role of mapping strategies between data and sound, explores preconceptions of ‘enclosed meanings’ and raises questions on the neutrality of the sonification process as a form of interpretation. The bulk of the article explores individual data-sound pieces that tackle these issues – works that cross-fade the science of sonification with the art of poetic interpretation. The issue also contains an interview I made with Tae Hong Park, author of the Citygram sonic mapping project. Previous interviews, for Neural, have included ones with Jennifer Kanary Nikolov, Herwig Weiser and Mitchell Whitelaw.