Data, Meet Music.

By Jenny S. Rebholz

Photos courtesy of some films


In collaboration with multidisciplinary artist Andrius Šarapovas and Adell Taivas Ogilvy, Lithuanian creative production company Some Films turned smart devices’ connections to the 4G network into—wait for it—sounds. They transformed this statistical data and presented it as an art installation in the form of an interactive musical sculpture for Tele2 Lithuania, the most popular telecom service provider in the country.

The concept was to create a walk-in kinetic sculpture. “This invites one to experience how data generated through a person’s reality and behavioral patterns can be revived from the digital world and returned to the real one by being transformed into generative music,” describes Lena Java, executive producer, Some Films.

A dedicated algorithm was created to turn one second of browsing on the 4G network into one second of music. Java explains that the number of connections to the network in different regions of Lithuania controlled the volume of the notes being played and their rhythmic distribution, while the amount of data transferred during those sessions determined the notes’ pitches. Furthermore, the number of connected sessions influenced the brightness of the room’s lighting and the speed of the shadow animation.

The kinetic installation featured 77 individual segments fixed on the walls and ceiling that made generative music. Each segment had a metal bar, sound activator, sound damper and resonator. Mechatronics, a blend of electronics and mechanical engineering, was used to turn 4G data from more than a million users into harmonic sounds. The installation’s sound range covered 16 notes, four of them—C, D, F and G—spread across four octaves. The notes were distributed through the room in such a way that a different harmonic composition was heard at different places within the space.

The interactive sculpture was in place for a month, and was so popular that the exhibit was extended for an additional two weeks. A definite topic of discussion on social media, visitors spent an average of 15-20 minutes in the space, and some an hour or more. The experience was described most often as “meditative.”

This installation blurred the lines between business and art, and transformed the distractions of daily data use into a meditative melody.

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