Published June 1, 2020 | Version v1
Conference paper Open

SOIL CHOIR v.1.3 - soil moisture sonification installation


The artistic sonification offers a creative method for putting direct semantic layers to the abstract sounds. This paper is dedicated to the sound installation "Soil choir v.1.3" that sonifies soil moisture in different depths and transforms this non-musical phenomenon into organized sound structures. The sonification of natural soil moisture processes tests the limits of our attention, patience and willingness to still perceive ultra-slow reactions and examines the mechanisms of our sense adaptation. Although the musical time of the installation is set to almost non-human – environmental time scale (changes happen within hours, days, weeks or even months…) this system can be explored and even played also as an instrument by putting sensors to different soil areas or pouring liquid into the soil and waiting for changes... The crucial aspect of the work was to design the sonification architecture that deals with extreme slow changes of input data – measured values from moisture sensors. The result is the sound installation consisting of three objects – each with different types of soil. Every object is compact, independent unit consisting of three low-cost capacitive soil moisture sensors, 1m long perspex tube filled with soil, full range loudspeaker and Bela platform with custom Supercollider code. I developed this installation during the year 2019 and this paper gives insight into the aspects and issues connected with creating this installation.



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2220-4806 (ISSN)