August 14, 2013

Data Music

We're emotional creatures in a digital world. We're all busy trying to make sense of complex surroundings that are increasingly migrating into clouds of invisible bitstreams. Visualizations help us glean meaning from the datasphere, but there's plenty of room to improve the transformation of digital information into meaningful, expressive forms.

With a few notable exceptions, most data visualizations are completely silent. The possibilities for piping data streams through musical interpreters is an under-explored area and well worth devoting energy to.

Today I found this nice example of what's possible:

Listen to Wikipedia

I haven't been this thrilled about a new data visualization in a long time. (We might need a different term, since this is both a "visualization" and a "sonification." Maybe "data transformation" or "data reexpression.")


Jessica said...

I love that the artist has been able to add themselves into this piece.
Have you seen this blog? - I really want those GPS shoes.

Ian Wojtowicz said...

When you say "the artist has been able to add themselves into this piece," you mean that you can hear the personality of the artist in the melodies?

I know Flowing Data well. They featured the UnFacebook map a while back.

Cool shoes!

That project makes me think that finding home may not be obvious. When you're lost, the terrain around you isn't always a grid. For the cobbler who made those shoes, finding home might be more about making a loud enough meme that Dorothy will notice him, rather than finding his way to a given building in a city.