An interactive installation & interface for real-time scientific data sonification which aims to create a sonic representation of stars and constellations.
Since there’s no sound in space, I wanted to to conceptualize a link between electromagnetic and sound waves. The goal was to create a minimalistic, interactive device which would allow visitors to learn about specific stars through sound information.
Details of triggered stars and constellations work as parameters that generate the sound experience, together with data analysed in real-time from the weather of the actual location. The visual content is real-time generated and features the actual colours of the triggered stars.
The base of the system is a cylindrical structure, on top of which are displayed the most important constellations of the northern sky. Above this representation are two robotic arms. When the tip of one of the arms aligns with a star, information on the selected star is transformed into simple sine waves, changing the colour the star emanates.
Two players can use the system at the same time, by moving their right hands over the two black, circular sensors. This allows them to move the robotic arm both horizontally and vertically.
The data detected for each star are: temperature (color index: red star = old and cold, blue star = hot and young), brightness (as seen from Earth), distance (from Earth) respectively transformed into: frequency (Hz), amplitude (dB), duration (ms).
The colder the star, the lower the pitch; the brighter it appears to us from Earth, the louder the sound; the further from Earth, the longer the duration.
For example, a bright, red star thousands light years from the Earth would generate a low frequency, loud and long sound. A blue star which is closer to the Earth would generate a high frequency, weaker and shorter sound.
The background drone-sound is white noise (which is a combination of all frequencies, the opposite of space-silence). When a constellation is triggered, the number representing its area (squared degrees), becomes the cutoff frequency of a low-pass filter for the noise signal. In this way, larger constellations will gradually increase their frequency.
The project has been developed using Arduino and Max7 software. Data of more than 300 stars and 44 constellations have been stored from the open-source software Stellarium.org, and coded to interact with the robotic arms.
Francesco Fabris: concept, direction, programming
Patrycja Maksylewicz: 2D design
Przemysław Koleszka: manufacturing
Eloy Diez Polo: 3D design