Together with colleagues from Theatre Film and Television Department and Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI-Y) at the University of York I organised The Conference on Sonification of Health and Environmental Data. Funded by Wellcome Trust and Centre for Chronic Diseases and Disorders (C2D2) at the University of York conference gathered experts from the fields of sonification, sound design, health sciences and environmental science to evaluate and discuss novel sonic ways to engage with data.
At the conference apart from guest speakers from IRCAM, KTH Stockholm there was an installation by Mark Fell (Sonic Uncertainties the Multidimensional Case), films, multimedia presentations. As part of the conference , I performed together with Space F!ght and Dr Kevin Hicks(SEI-Y) Ozone data sonification and visualisation set.
Sonification is concerned with displaying data in sonic form so that listeners (experts and/or non-experts) can perceive and engage with the structures and the properties of the data set and their meaning.
Sound can be a particularly effective way of displaying and exploring big data, monitoring processes and representing complex information in creative and engaging ways. Sound, an inherently time-based display, is particularly well suited to representing time-based data (for example, the evolution of an environmental phenomenon in time) as well as data gathered in real-time (for example, a muscle performing an action can be sonified as an auditory feedback).
Sound can alert a listener to anomalies and new events when the visual sense is occupied in other tasks, and large amounts of data can be portrayed rapidly in one single rhythmically and timbrally unique sound.
In addition, sound can help represent correlations and links between different data sets, something highly desirable in specific cases when health data is strongly related to environmental data.
As a follow up, International Journal of Human-Computer studies is releasing Special Issue on Data sonification and sound design in interactive systems to be published in 2015.