Project Name: TouchySpaceyDataThingy



Gawain Hewitt, Luis Zayas, Malin L'Arvidsson (KTH), Sabina Barcucci, Johnnie Hård

List of Challenges:

ESA/SNSA Challenge, the Immersion Challenge, Exposition Challenge, KTH Innovation Challenge,

Description of Entry:

The TouchySpaceyDataThingy is an immersive device for the sonification of data. Designed to provide a visceral interaction to compare data sets, it then presents them as an intuitive graphic interface and a musical instrument. While the instrument could be used to sonify any data, for this project we have specifically worked with satellite data from the ESA and SNSA API to provide a deeper understanding of the relationship between the 3 cities from where we are from across the seasons, and also to compare two different environments.

Data is presented on data tiles which are laser cut images that abstract the data, presenting as a cross between a piece of art and a cartridge for a post digital games console.

To sonify the data, we decided to look to Johannes Keplar, and his work linking harmony with the solar system. After researching his harmonic ideas, we choose to use the one of the scales that he constructed to illustrate the different notes that the planets occupied at the aphelion and perihelion positions. This particular scale begins with G (the aphelion position of Saturn) and is only missing the note A. It lacks only the perihelion positions of Earth and Venus. Kepler called this scale cantus durus, which loosely translates as 'sharp' or 'hard' scale. Our own concepts of major and minor had not yet been agreed upon. Combined with our use of just temperament, which Keplar preferred to Pythagorean scales, we have ended up with a very distinctive sounding instrument, which is able to give a clear sonic signature to the data it works with.

Visual design was inspired by non traditional notation and graphical scoring.

We’ve used Max MSP, Ableton Live, the ESA/SNSA data API, Bare Conductive touch board, RFID reader.

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