Creatively Processing the Pandemic: Sonification of COVID-19 Data

Creatively Processing the Pandemic is an audio essay born out of a grant funded research project through Sydney Nano that looks at the collaborative process of sonifying datasets from the COVID19 pandemic.

The Johns Hopkins datasets of COVID positive cases and curves from different countries across the world serves as the starting point for an exploration of ways of sonically expressing the data but also the information the data intends to communicate. Through a narrative that weaves together conversations between artists, sonic compositions, discussions of the creative collaborative process, and a recorded soundtrack of newsreel from the pandemic, the fifteen-minute audio essay considers the purpose and value of an artistic intuitive and somatic exploration of data. The essay harnesses the creative practices of the three authors to discover individual and collective strategies for using scientific data to inspire novel compositional ideas. We were interested in discovering, through practice, how such datasets can inform our compositional thinking, and what that might mean for future interdisciplinary practices. The research explores the process of creative practice, the realities of collaborating over distance, the technological approaches to this work, and the often lesser-discussed process of navigating through the expressive creative process as an artist. The audio essay is heavily layered and incorporates three distinct creative responses to COVID19 data from the three artists, interwoven with candid discussions that took place during zoom meetings throughout the creative process. By considering the role of data, sonification, collaboration, and our personal creative processes, this audio essay offers a perspective on how we as artists grapple with data as it is contextualized in the world around us. This presentation will include a five-minute section from the audio essay and a deeper dive into research collaborations during the pandemic.

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