Proposal Living Data: Animation brings to life the measured words of scientists
Scientists describe earth as a whole changing system of which we are a part, but because people process information differently, scientific explanations are not easily understood by everyone. Although scientists express great interest in how data are combined to reveal global change, the measured tones of their voices necessarily allow for few expressions of feeling. In this project, improvised music, gestures and drawings will be combined with the measured words of scientists to make their data accessible to more people. Animation will used to convey accurate information with strong aesthetic appeal. Living Data will bring to life the reality that ”The history of life and the history of the atmosphere and the history of the oceans are all intertwined’1 and that ‘the interconnectedness of all things, living and inanimate … comprise the Symbiotic Planet’2
Living Data builds on the research project, AntarcticAnimation.com, which demonstrates how animation can be used to combine scientific data with expressions of connection. Living Data will expand on the Antarctic view by engaging people with the global ecosystem through a wide range of scientific and aesthetic expressions. New and existing expressions shared by international climate change scientists and artists will be combined within a rhythmic soundscape and a choreography of primal gestural forms. The circle, spiral and cross have been used since prehistory to describe the world and our connections to it. New digital technologies have made visible these forms to in earth systems, from the micro to the macro. The animation will be produced in chapter format to allow for distribution and presentation of discrete visualisations as the work develops.
Voices of veteran climate change scientists will be combined with those of younger scientists to describe how the ecosystem works from the perspectives of their various research disciplines. Recurring patterns in sentence structures and word pictures will be identified to create aural and visual patterns to underscore patterns of physical change reflected in the data. The sound will be used in workshops with artists as stimuli for improvised gestures and drawings. The animation as a whole will be characterised by clear line tracings of gestures, drawings and data sets, choreographed to align with patterns identified in the voices of scientists. Living Data will, at every level, reflect the reality of life as a whole living system.
1 Paleo geologist Patrick Quilty. Recorded interview. Hobart. 29 September 2011
2 Paleobotanist Mary White. Earth Alive! 2003. p.xv