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If the Oceans Could Speak

Directed by Leah Borromeo and Katharine Round  | Composed by Jamie Perera


If the Oceans Could Speak transforms data around our production, consumption and disposal of plastics in the world's oceans into a sound and music composition. It is part of the Climate Symphony series, commissioned by We Are the Oceans and exhibited as part of EDIT at Toronto's Design Exchange in September-October 2017. 

This piece was created using peer-reviewed datasets from the World Economic Forum, Plastics Europe, the University of California Santa Barbara, the University of Georgia and Sea Education Association in Massachusetts. Using underwater oceanic recordings together with data sonification, we create an immersive sound experience to provoke new associations around the data. The audience is encouraged to share their reactions to the piece, and an accompanying visual presentation draws out the narratives and sonic representations in greater detail. 

As an artwork, it presents consumption and disposal of plastic using sonic textures, harmonies and variations in pitch and intensity to allow a visceral response in the listener. As a piece of journalism, it remains true to the raw data, and uncomfortable and jarring sounds echo the relentless increase in plastic waste. 

 
 
 

Further reading

Climate change data is being transformed into beautiful, haunting symphonies

ARTICLE

Data sonification is being used to evoke the sounds of a climate in crisis, writes Wired magazine

 

FURTHER READING

Climate Symphony

ART / JOURNALISM

What is the sound of a dying planet? Climate Symphony turns data on climate change into a musical composition to tell the story of what climate change means through sound