The question started out harmless enough. “Hey Ginger, do you want to pick an interesting Max project to talk about?”
And so, I shopped around the Cycling ‘74 Projects library, the same way I walk around the drug store late at night wearing my mom jeans and old Birkenstocks.
This one caught my eye:
"Through the use of publicly available live footage from New York’s Traffic Management Center, Junction tracks the movements of taxis in some of the city’s busiest intersections. It uses their position, velocity and overall density to synthesize sounds."
I had chosen a similar project based on “hearing information” for my section in the 1000 Max Projects Staff Picks, and to my surprise, they were both from the same person, Micah Frank.
A large reason for my interest here lies in the basic ideas of sonification. I think it’s a big deal. Like, sliced bread big deal.
In other words, why just let the visual people have all the fun?
If you think about all this data that we encounter on a daily basis, a vast majority of it is visual. Graphs, drawings, charts, infographics with those icons you see on bathroom signs; these are all visualizations of data to show us how the economy is doing or who is leading in the polls or how much weight one of those Kardashians gained in the past two years. Whatever.
Because in the age of new technologies and unstoppable curiosity, projects like Junction introduce very inclusive opportunities for very practical applications.
The presentation of data is an artform in itself. The practice exists to inform and engage, and this is what we rely on to make decisions, big and small. It is a basis for us understanding something, and if we don’t get a good enough picture, if this data is not presented well enough, it is the difference between buying the right zit cream, to countries declaring war against each other.
Just like the talking pictures changed the way we all saw movies and film, can the same thing not be applied to situations where Gene Kelly is not wearing a bouffant?
Or in this case, sound giving us the opportunity to experience infinitesimally small objects, with Lily Asquith from CERN, speaking at TEDxZurich:
The sonification of data. How amazing.