Climate symphony turns data into sound

Katharine Round / November 6th, 2015

Climate symphony turns data into sound
Climate symphony turns data into sound

Scientists and journalists constantly look for fresh ways to communicate the impacts of climate change. Visualisation of data is now well-known and widely practised. But a new project is doing something a little out of the ordinary: it’s turning climate data into sound.

The idea behind ‘Climate symphony’ is to translate hard data on climate change into a musical composition that engages the public — encouraging people to question their feelings and the stories behind the data, and create a conversation.

In this audio interview we speak to Katharine Round and Leah Borromeo of Disobedient Film Company, the co-creators of the work, alongside composer Jamie Perera. They explain that, by listening to the climate symphony, people will be able to tangibly experience climate data and immerse themselves in it. Research shows that sound touches us in inexplicable ways. By using music, the hope is to create an emotional response to something that for many might look meaningless on a page. “In a world where we’re saturated with hearing the same messages,” they say, “any way to engage people with a subject [as] important [as] climate change is worthwhile.”

The project also aims to go beyond performance: by using global data sets and open-source processes, the creators hope to create an educational tool to engage and encourage people around the world to make their own symphonies.

The ‘data sonification’ project was presented last week at the Global Health Film Festival in London, United Kingdom, where this interview was recorded.

Hear the interview here