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Stuart Haffenden - Weather Systems, Bocs Celf

What does the weather sound like? Two sound installations by Mexican artist Stuart Haffenden, at Bocs in Caernarfon, explore the ways that technology can help us to sense and quantify our environments and gain insights into the innermost workings of the universe.

Stuart Haffenden is a Mexican multimedia artist, performer and researcher currently based in Manchester, UK. His background lies in music technology and electronic music composition; specialising in multi-channel surround sound, generative music and audiovisual installations, which are produced under the alias 'Orrest . This focus on interactivity and generative audio provided Stuart with an introduction into software engineering and real-world data sensing, which served as the groundwork for the artist s current work. Currently a PhD candidate in Digital Innovation at Lancaster University s HighWire doctoral training centre, his research lies in the emerging field of data sonification and auditory display, which are concerned with the sonic representation of complex data and information.

Stuart Haffenden - Weather Systems

Haffenden's installations - Weather Systems, from which the exhibition takes its title - uses technologies to create an aesthetic sonification ofdata collected over two days using algorithmic compositional techniques. Environmental sensors were placed in the woods outside the LICA building at Lancaster University and at Lake Windemere These included: a temperature/humidity/dew point sensor, a light intensity sensor, and a carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and methane gas sensor. These data where then mapped to different sound parameters and structural queues.

Stuart Haffenden - Weather Systems

The music generated follows an A B A B structure, where A represents the night time, with the temperature mapped to the pitch of the bell sound, which also signals every passing hour. The seemingly random percussive and granular sounds are triggered when pollutant gas levels meet a certain threshold and the high-pitched metallic sound corresponds to humidity. The disappearance of the bell sounds and the rising melodic synths are mapped to the light intensity data stream, signaling the sunrise. In the B section the melodic and harmonic synthesizer sounds are mapped to temperature, humidity and dew point. Finally the rain and thunder throughout the first section is also driven by dewpoint. You can hear a sample of the sounds generated here.

Stuart Haffenden - Weather Systems

The aim of this project is to allow audience members to hear what two contrasting days, in terms of weather, sound like, bringing to life the imperceptible changes in our environment that we take for granted.

Weather Systems at Bocs opened on 09 January at 6pm and runs until 01 of February. www.bocs.org.uk