- creative field sound design
- Client Name hdpk HackLab
- Project URL hacklab.hdpk.de
- Completion Date 05/13/2016
The Audio-Visual Atmosphere Research Project (AVARP) was developed at the hdpk Hacklab, an interdisciplinary, collaborative workshop. In 2015, as part of the project, AVARP was awarded a grant of €1,000.
Concept & Challenges
With the recent climate conferences in Paris, climate change has been getting a lot of attention of late. However, visualising the often abstract data so that it becomes tangible is a challenge.
The AVARP system is designed to help artists and designers work with weather data in audio-visual representations that are easy to understand. AVARP not only enriches the cultural dialogue around climate change, but can also play a part in climate change education.
Updates of current weather conditions are automatically sent to various social networks such as Twitter, which you can view or listen to. Since weather patterns are ever-changing, unique audio-visual impressions are generated continually, which lends itself to being transmitted through a variety of platforms and services, including radio.
The complexity of atmospheric change can be difficult for laypersons to grasp. AVARP fosters greater awareness of climate change, while enabling us to engage with efforts to protect the environment, by illustrating the complexity of weather systems in a clear, aesthetically pleasing manner.
How do we translate weather into sound? How does summer sound in comparison to fall or winter? What melody does a cold day inspire? What about a hot day? What timbre does autumn have and what chord sounds sunny? The answers to these questions are not only valuable to every composer and sound designer, but merit further research.
In our case, nature and its whims are the composer. We’re attempting to sonify the ever shifting fluctuations of our atmosphere. Students of every semester are welcome to create their own interpretation of the data.
Developing synesthetic sonic imagery that works universally is a major challenge and requires both creativity and a coherent sound design. Going beyond using the few psychoacoustic phenomena known to most sound designers, there is plenty of room for experimentation and discovery.
AVARP is a complex system designed to gather weather data, and intended to encourage creative use of datasets in interdisciplinary visualisation or sonification projects.
The system is modular, meaning that sound design, interface design, visualisation and programming are not only necessary components, but invite continued development and improvement.
Besides capturing weather data in real-time, via our custom-built, RaspberryPi based weather station, it’s possible to retrieve previously recorded weather events through open source data banks. By implementing said data into the system we can travel anywhere, both past and present, and get a representation of the weather.
The development of modules, in addition to the core system, enables easy access for various disciplines and puts the focus on content, rather than the system’s underlying IT structure. The modules are designed to be plug and play compatible so that anyone can get creative, instantly.