[ISEA2008] Workshop: Mark Ballora — IData Sonification: Sound as Information

Workshop Statement

Mark Ballora gave the Data Sonification Workshop at the NUS Cyberstudio Lab. Amongst those present were ISEA2008 Artist In Residence Jodi Rose, prominent local sound artist Zulkafie Mahmod, and Indian Animator and Film Director Lloyd Robert.

As we navigate our way through life, the eyes and the ears play complementary roles in giving us information about our environment. Yet in research fields, the eyes predominate, as datasets are typically presented through visualization. There is much promise in complementary or alternative realizations presented for the ears, through sonification.  Studying large amounts of data with the ears offers a number of advantages. Small-scale variations may be “magnified” if they are mapped to a quality such as pitch, to which the human auditory system is particularly sensitive. The auditory system is also highly adapted for following multiple streams of information. That is, listeners can readily apprehend a number of simultaneous melodies if they are presented effectively. Thus, sonification is an effective way to display a multitude of signal processing operations simultaneously, with each being represented as a line of counterpoint, a series of chords, or a succession of musical instruments. Indeed, from an informatics perspective, sonification represents an exciting frontier of research methodologies. New ways of gathering information are constantly being created; it is not always clear how useful interpretations can be made from the multitude of information sources and the apparent “data deluge.” Finding ways to listen to data offers considerable promise.

  • Mark Edward Ballora (USA) 1962-2019. He held a bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts from UCLA, two master’s degrees in Music Technology and Composition from NYU’s Department of Music and a Ph.D. in Music Technology from McGill University in Montreal. He joined the Pennsylvania State University faculty in 2000. He was a dynamic professor of music technology in the Penn State School of Music, affiliate faculty in the School of Theatre, and newly appointed director of the Arts & Design Research Incubator. He was an international leader in the field of sonificationthe translation of data to corresponding musical frequencies. His 2016 book, Digital Audio and Acoustics for the Creative Arts, was lauded as a fundamental resource on acoustics and recording technology.                                                  [source: https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/centredaily/obituary.aspx?n=mark-edward-ballora&pid=193981792].