Oceanic “Datanimism” uses a combination of data sonification, audio production, and creative coding to explore the theme of bringing environmental data to life. The sea levels are rising and the data from this research was sonified to be at the core of the composition. The rest of the sound pieces add context and encourage reflection on the anthropomorphic events that have led to the rising sea levels. A website was created to host the audiovisual installation and add graphic elements to the work. Dates appear as the sonification passes them by. Rain comes down harder as the sea levels rise. The low and high frequencies of the sounds are analyzed and direct a graphic visualization at the centre of the page. The idea of animism leads the way in hopes that by giving this data a voice and a character, people will more easily develop a personal relationship with it in order to reflect on what role humans have played in the slow-moving climate crisis.
Alex MacLean is an MA candidate in Communication and New Media at McMaster University. His passion for music and technology will guide his research investigating assistive applications of machine learning for the performing arts. He holds both a diploma in Music Industry Arts from Fanshawe College and a B.Sc. (Hon) in Computer Science from Western University and previously worked as a software engineer in the broadcast industry before starting at McMaster. Alex is also a member of a progressive rock band based in Hamilton, ON called Deepsea Challenger and McMaster’s Cybernetic Orchestra, a live-coding laptop ensemble.