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Hearing Connections at the Royal Institution

K http://www.rigb.org/contentControl

I'm giving a talk next week as part of the excellent-sounding Hearing Connections, an evening of lectures on sonification and networks. It's part of a series of events at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, the 200-year-old establishment that Faraday and Medawar once called home. So, no pressure then.

I'll be discussing the relationships between sound and ecosystems, giving a whistle-stop tour of emergence, nested hierarchies and complexity, via Wolfram and Stockhausen, and hopefully culminating in a demo of some exciting new multi-level simulation work that I've been developing.

Here's the abstract:

What does a concerto have in common with a coral reef? The answer is that both are made up of nested hierarchies, in which an individual on one layer contains a population of the one below. An ecosystem comprises of multiple species, each of which contains multiple communities, made up of multiple individuals -- and an individual is itself an ecosystem of organs, cells and microbes. Likewise, a concerto comprises of movements, which comprise of parts, which comprise of notes and harmonies.

This talk is a brief tour around the relationships between music and ecology, and how their similarity can be used as a fruitful way to illuminate both our scientific and artistic practices.

  • Can translating a real ecosystem into sound reveal hidden properties to us?
  • Can the dynamics of an ecosystem be thought of as creative, or teach us about creativity?
  • Can there be a single set of simple rules that unify all of these levels collectively?

Hearing Connections runs from 7pm on Tuesday 15 November.
More information and tickets on the Royal Institution's website.