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Supper: Data Karaoke

Karaoke has penetrated to so many levels of society that it has reached even the some of the scientists who present data at scientific conferences. This study, by Supper, tells how that came about:

Data Karaoke: Sensory and Bodily Skills in Conference Presentations,” Alexandra Supper, [pictured here], Volume 24, Issue 4, 2015, pages 436-457. (Thanks to Tom Gill for bringing this to our attention.) The author, at Maastricht University, explains:

“At the International Conference on Auditory Display (ICAD), an interdisciplinary conference dedicated to sonification and the use of non-speech sound to represent information, presenters make use of a variety of bodily skills and representations that appeal to the senses of their audience… The practice of ‘data karaoke’, in which researchers mimic the sound of a sonification with their own voice, is particularly instructive…

“To make sense of data karaoke, we have to understand the institutional and intellectual environment in which this peculiar practice has emerged; but conversely, an understanding of data karaoke can help us throw new light on epistemological debates about the hierarchy of the senses: data karaoke is a multisensory skill engaging the whole body of the sonification researcher, and thus calls into question the dominant epistemological discourse within the ICAD community, in which the different sensory modalities are framed as competitors.”

BONUS: Here’s a twist on that: video of Stephen Barrass of the University of Canberra talking about his “Hypertension Singing Bowl“. Barrass says:  “The Hypertension Singing Bowl is an Acoustic Sonification shaped by a year of blood pressure data that has been 3D printed in stainless steel so that it rings…. The resulting Hypertension singing bowl is a meditative contemplation on the dataset that is a reminder to live a healthy lifestyle, and a poetic alternative to generic graphic plots of the Quantified Self.”

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