80Hz 

is an experimental tool and instrument for understanding the NSW State Library catalogue through sound. The name 80Hz embodies history, data and sound in one value. It is the frequency generated by the bull roarer, one of the earliest instruments used to communicate information. The practical operation and historical significance of this instrument has been reinterpreted as the driving concept for this proposal.


Digitising data does not necessarily make it more accessible. As information becomes abundant, exploring it becomes increasingly complex. 80Hz builds on concepts of data sonification commonly used in the fields of astronomy and oceanography to understand data. However, 80Hz refocusses data science processes onto art and literature in order to explore artistic content. Using this tool, novels, artworks, interviews and transcripts become musical compositions that reflect their emotion and sentiment. Fundamentally, the project connects the data of past and present, translating it into sound, as a common language to be appreciated by all.

80Hz exists digitally and physically, online and onsite. As a digital tool it is experiential and interactive, allowing users to sonically explore the catalogue elements before researching further. It has a life beyond the fellowship as an adaptable tool for musical exploration of library data. As a physical instrument it is mysterious and performative, inhabiting the library, allowing it to form a connection with the city and making the collection immersive. In the future it will act as a template for the library to explore further ways to combine creativity, data and performance within the city.

THOMAS WING-EVANS
LONDON︎SYDNEY
2017©