Three audio-visual presentations created for (and using data supplied by) 'West Midlands Air' at University of Birmingham:
1 LOCATION MATTERS (The importance of place)
The yearly average air quality readings for a range of urban and rural locations are presented. The data readings were converted directly into frequency and were assigned their closest musical notes. These were then synchronised with the displayed air quality readings, with the nitric oxide (NO) readings sounding in the left speaker and the nitrogen dioxide levels in the right speaker. The map on the left hand side of the screen displays the whereabouts of the various chosen locations.
2 PICK YOUR MOMENT (The difference the time of day makes)
Nitrogen Dioxide levels across the West Midlands region of the UK are presented both visually and aurally. The map displays the seven different counties, and the changing levels of nitrogen dioxide throughout an average day. Each of the counties has its own place within the stereo spectrum (west to east being represented as left to right). Then the different levels of pollution, as indicated by the different colours, are assigned a musical tone, with the higher levels being mapped to higher pitch. Finally, the volume for each of these levels is mapped to the level of pollution as indicated by the changing graphic.
3 CHOOSE YOUR PATH (Taking the scenic route)
Nitrogen Dioxide and particulate matter levels are presented for a series of locations on an imagined route through the centre of the city of Birmingham from its rural outskirts. The journey (from Lickey Hills to Sutton Park) is traced on the accompanying map and synchronised with the sound of the rising and falling particulate pollutants PM2.5 and PM10 (in the left-hand and right-hand loudspeakers respectively). At each location, the nitrogen dioxide levels are presented as three-note chords representing the minimum, mean and maximum levels of modelled air quality data for each site. According to Google Maps, it is possible to cycle this route in 1 hour 59 minutes. With this composition the journey is made in just under two minutes!
A4 Info - installation details (same as this page).
Decoded Magazine - 'The sound of dirty music: artist creates aural art from air pollution'.
Music Tech - 'Artist Uses Air Pollution to Create Music'.
Mixmag - 'Sound designers translate air pollution into music'.
EDM - 'A Sound Artist Translated Air Pollution Data Into Music'.
Sunday Mercury - 'Decismells! New Musical Masterpiece is a Symphony of Pong'.
Birmingham Mail - 'Unique Music is Breathtaking'.
Traffic Technology Today - 'Artist and scientists create music from air pollution'.
My Green Pod - 'Sounding Out Pollution'.