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A dialogue between four hands

A dialogue between four hands


Can we feel data? And can we see music?

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What is data?
What can be data?
And, what data can be? 
In our ongoing collaboration, musician Kaki King and I, explore how we can use data to create deeper experiences.

Kaki grew up playing guitar and drums, and she applies the techniques of both instruments in her guitar playing. What Kaki and I share is not our field of expertise, but our hands at work. What we are aiming to do together is to use data to deconstruct and reveal the textures of what makes the music she plays so beautiful.

There is only so much information that a musician can impart via traditional notation, in Kaki’s case especially, because she uses a many unorthodox techniques, there are a lot of nuances that are difficult to express on paper without developing an entirely new visual system. 

In our first collaboration we created a visual that simultaneously displays:
- the melody that is played (like a score), 
- where the notes are played on the neck of the guitar (as in a tablature), 
but also how Kaki plays them with her hands:
- the movements of her hands,
- the different types of touches, and
- and the different fingers she uses with her right and left hands.

We started with basic data collection of the notes being played, and we enriched them with all of the details we manually gathered on how Kaki plays them.

I then meticulously visualized all this information. Instead of focusing on a linear representation of the music, which would have been simply a visualization of the partiture and tabs, I used a different approach: following the repetitive nature of the song, which is clearly structured by sections.
The song that Kaki wrote has interchangeable parts. One can be played after another in an almost random order and it will still function well as a composition.
 

Enjoy the music and its visualization, and read the explanation below

 
 Data Artwork

Data Artwork

 General Legend for the Data Artwork

General Legend for the Data Artwork


Detailed Legend on the Gallery Above.


 Design Indaba, 2017

Design Indaba, 2017

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This is a multimedia exploration of the role of data in our lives, and a call for Data Humanism, in which we reclaim subjectivity on how data is captured and collected, and embrace the subjectivity that invariably comes with how data is represented.

Kaki and I are aiming at doing much more together, so watch this space!