Multi-dimensional Sound Mapping of Migration Tracks of Pelagic Species

  • ©ISEA2016: 22nd International Symposium on Electronic Art, Jiayi Young and Shih-Wen Young, Multi-dimensional Sound Mapping of Migration Tracks of Pelagic Species
  • Dance. Phase I Study Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, Croatia, 2012, Jiayi Young and Shih-Wen Young. Phase II Study Moltkerei Werkstatt, Cologne Germany, through Stadt Köln Kunst und Kultur artist residency program, 2013, Jiayi Young, Shih-Wen Young, N

Symposium:


Session Title:

  • Digital Ethology

Presentation Title:

  • Multi-dimensional Sound Mapping of Migration Tracks of Pelagic Species

Presenter(s):



Abstract:

  • This installation experiments with a multi-dimensional soundscape to map out migration tracks of pelagic (open ocean) species of one predator and three preys in the environment of their corresponding sea surface temperature (SST) change over the course of a two-year period. These studies would ultimately be incorporated into creating an immersive installation where audience would rely on wearable devices to experience a visual and audible environment that reflected the diversity and abundance of life in the oceans.
    Specially, the installation would also address the pressing concern of over-fishing, and the evolution of these oceanic lives over time and across geographic locations. Our eventual goal for the project is to provide the audience with the feeling of being submerged under water and being able to detect and interact within a simulated oceanic environment.

    Overview
    This data sonification installation utilizes data extracted from the live Tagging of Pacific Predators (TOPP) project. TOPP is a project began in 2000 as one of 17 projects of the Census of Marine Life, a 10-year, 80-nation endeavor to assess and explain the diversity and abundance of life in the oceans, and where that life has lived, is living, and will live. Tagged animals send back data via satellites such as Argos, a polar-orbiting satellite. [1] Intermingled in the soundscape are mapped migration activities of pelagic (open-ocean) species of one Salmon Shark and three Northern Elephant Seals over the course of a two-year period (Jan 2011- Jan 2013), along with corresponding Sea Surface Temperature (SST) change of the shark’s tagged positions.

    [2][3][4] Sitting in the middle of the room, the blindfolded audience becomes the shark with a heightened sense of hearing detecting its prey’s spatial and directional location. (Fig 1.) These activities are submerged in the mapped sound of Sea Surface Temperature change surrounding the shark covering an area of 121,000 km2 along the track. The first two phases of the project experimented with various fitting methods using Mathematica to find the best-fit functions for migration tracks and SST data, which were then used to generate multi- imensional sound channels.

    Data Mapping Method
    -Two-dimensional tags are fitted into smooth curves to form migration tracks (seal relative to shark). Tracks are then mapped into the waveforms with subjective frequency assigned (within human audible spectrum).
    -SST data is fitted into smooth curves, and then mapped into wave forms with subjective frequency assigned (within human audible spectrum).
    -Mapped animal track sounds are outputted from speakers on the floor.
    -Mapped SST sounds are outputted from speakers above participants.

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