In a new paper, published in ‘Environment and Planning’, Owain Jones and his co-author Michaela Palmer (née Reiser) make the case for using sonification as a means of representing data that might not otherwise be considered in environmental discussions. Sonification is the use of non-speech audio to convey information or perceptualise data. The paper uses the case of the Severn and focuses on the cultural, social and ecological importance of the tidal ebbs and flows of the river.
The full title is ‘On breathing and geography: explorations of data sonifications of timespace processes with illustrating examples from a tidally dynamic landscape (Severn Estuary, UK) and an abstract can be viewed here
Meanwhile, Owain had the following to say about the paper:
“This paper emerges out of on-going collaboration between myself and Michaela who is a sonic artist and Senior Lecturer in Digital Media in the Department of Creative Technologies at University of the West of England (UWE).
Together we have worked to bring to public and academic attention the complex tidal rhythms of the Severn Estuary which have profound implications for both natural and cultural heritage in the estuary and its hinterlands. Michaela has now produced a number of tidal sonifications These have been exhibited at the Bristol Festival of Nature (2011 and 2013) and at the International Emotional Geographies Conference in Groningen, The Netherlands (2013).
Michaela is also part of a group of UK and Dutch artists and academics taking part in the ‘Between Two Tides’ project which is headed by myself and Bettina Von Hoven from Groningen University. This project is studying artistic and social responses to the Severn Estuary and the Wadden Sea as tidal landscapes. Michaela and I expect to continue to work on the tidal rhythms of the Severn estuary and also seek to develop the idea of data sonification (as opposed to visualisation) as a research method.”
More information can be found on the ‘Sonic Severn’ website