Looking Outwards – Sonification

by Mishugana @ 6:51 am 18 January 2010

Charts Music – Johannes Kreidler make  recession art with microsoft songsmith and depressing data.

Johannes Kreidler is an german avant garde composer. A lot of his work deals with data and computers and composing sound with abstract concepts in mind.

Kriedlers website

A book Kriedler wrote on using pure data for music

Johannes Kreidler

Below is an embedded youtube video for Johannes Kreidler’s  Charts Music.

(Project’s Webpage)

It was made by taking real data readily available to the public and visually displaying the data alongside the sonification of the data in this youtube piece, (i haven’t seen anything signifying that this is documentation and not the actual work)

He uses a simple program called microsoft songsmith to take values of data from the past (then present) and make them into eerie musaq-like song portraits.

The power and strength in this piece is obviously the sound work and the visual accompaniment only serves to reinforce the contradictions and disparity the tunes produce. Using sound and music to allow the viewer/listener to create an image of values that are mathematically are tied to real world events and catastrophes somehow is very powerful. The intriguing space he inspires is something i think  all artists strive to create.

Although it would be stronger as an info-vis software (and artists are trending more towards transparency as well) to make available a program that would allow the user to submit any data and then turn it into a song in the same way that he has…. any user still has the ability to do it themselves using microsoft songsmith. (you can try the software for free)

Kreidler also has a certain level of intentionality in this piece…. while giving users/viewers the ability to explore data is very powerful, choosing data, and arranging its order adds the hand of the artist back into a work a bit more, and can present a clearer approach. And lastly then again by removing himself he could have made the work more neutral and allowed the user to ask their own questions and draw their own conclusions instead of walking the line of political art and political activism with an agenda.

either way the piece is very interesting, and i think sonification is under-explored and should be considered visualization even though technically it relies on sound as its medium, which is inherently not visual.

“its got a good beat, and you can dance to it.”

1 Comment

  1. Firstly, congrats on embedding the video.

    This is a great find. It is nice to see something ironic with its commentary, rather than trying (and often failing) to be purely representational.
    I also like the fact it is sound-based, not just another bunch of fancy pixels. Visualizing data, can surely encompass sonification.

    Comment by Karl DD — 18 January 2010 @ 7:34 am

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