THE SOUND OF DATA: Science meets music

When and where?

Belval Campus and Rockhal

What does data sound like? Does it even matter to know? Well, firstly figures and visuals are excluding anyone with visual disability from accessing them. Secondly, the process of sonification offers additional tools to make sense of data, to recognize patterns and trends, based on sound properties such as volume, pitch or rhythm. And sound opens up a whole new world of possibilities not only for visualizing data but also for creating bridges between science and music.

The project “Remix Science – The Sound of Data” is exactly about that, about transforming data into sound – i.e., “sonifying” data – and ultimately into music. In a nutshell, the collaborative project, developed and implemented by the Luxembourg National Research Fund, the University of Luxembourg, Rockhal / Rocklab and the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology, explores new ways of creating, performing, and experiencing music by using data as building blocks in the creative process.

The project will unfold in four phases, starting with data collection. Four different datasets collected by the University of Luxembourg in collaboration with the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology will be used to explore societal topics residents and visitors alike can relate to: traffic data, historical data, data from crowdsourcing art as well as 3D body scan data. The public will have an opportunity to be actively involved during this first phase in the context of crowdsourcing art, where terminals in public spaces will allow the public to create a piece of digital art, and of the 3D body scan, where interested individuals will be able to get their body scanned.

During the second phase the collected data will be processed and transformed into sounds by Valery Vermeulen, a Belgian electronic musician, music producer, mathematician, new media artist and author.

These sounds will then be used in phase three to compose, arrange and produce music in the context of workshops and artists’ residencies. A call will be made to local musicians and artists of the Greater Region to participate in these workshops and artists’ residencies, hosted and led by Rockhal’s Rocklab. Valery Vermeulen will be one of the mentors of the artists’ residencies; and musicians, researchers and the general public alike will have the opportunity to be trained in data sonification.

Finally in phase four, the results of the data sonification process will be brought live on stage. In spring of 2022 Valery Vermeulen will present the first outcome of his sonification process during the kick-off event, which will also feature live music and workshops. The project will come to a close beginning of December 2022, with a grand finale at Rockhal, a music festival where the artists in residency will perform alongside a headliner. The whole project will be accompanied throughout the year by science communication activities and conferences about data sonification and the links between science and music.

Images copyrights
@ Dark waves/Claudio Ramirez

Leading institution

THE SOUND OF DATA: Science meets music

Partners

Rockhal, University of Luxembourg

People

Prof. Dr.

Djamila

Aouada

Project manager

Assistant professor/Senior research scientist
Snt
University of Luxembourg

Jean-Paul

Bertemes

Project manager

Head of science in Society
FNR

Paul

Bradshaw

Project manager

Booker/producer
Rockhal

Emmanuel

Defay

Project manager

Group Leader
LIST

Oliver

Glassl

Project manager

FSTM
Dean Office
University of Luxembourg

Dr.

Stefan

Krebs

Project manager

Assistant professor/Senior research scientist
FHSE
Public History and Outreach
University of Luxembourg