Imagining the sound of a dying planet from mining data on climate change

What is the sound of a dying planet? Might it sound a little like a musical composition, parsed from the billions of bytes of data that can be mined from decades of change climate change research? An eclectic group of climate scientists, data analysts, journalists and sound artists will be gathering this Saturday in East London’s Toynbee Hall to find out in a collaborative process open to all, with a live performance to finish.

The experts, plus artists Freya Berkhout, Danny Keig and Jamie Perera, will help members of the public select and turn climate data sets into sound, creating digital instruments for a personal Climate Symphony. They will use data sonification, a technique designed to make statistical analysis more accessible to the mind via sound and the ear, just as traditional data visualisations like graphs make data accessible through imagery and the eye.

‘Sonified’  datasets – data changed into musical notes, timings and phrases – are raw material mined and refined into musical scores performed by the people, places and things reflected in that data. Turning depersonalised, abstracted data representations of looming catastrophe into a musical soundscape, the sound of a dying planet, it’s a data extractive industry event of a different sort, if you like, featuring human intervention of a more constructive kind.

Working at the intersection of technology, data journalism and art, Climate Symphony is a fully scaleable project with a vision to use sound as a journalistic tool – social engagement through sound. Devised by filmmaker Katherine Round and Leah Borromeo of Disobedient Films, in collaboration with composer Jamie Perera, and co-produced by Forma Arts and Disobedient, the workshop runs 11:00-6:00pm this Saturday 17 June. The £10 ticket includes admission to a 7:30 performance. It is nearly fully booked, but check the Facebook event page or go direct to the ArtsAdmin booking page for updates on availability.

Tickets are also separately available for the evening event at 7:30pm. Curated by Forma, the evening event will also feature live performances by sound artists Kate Carr and Lee Patterson who use field recordings in the composition of their work, often from environments in which climate change is taking effect. Find out more here on the Facebook events page.

Disobedient & Forma Arts: Climate Symphony Performance #2degreesfestival at Toynbee Studios, 28 Commercial Street, London E1 6AB. Supported by Arts Council England and Sculpt the Future Foundation.


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