Turning science into sound and animating mating krill

Ultimo Science Festival

An exhibition at the Ultimo Science Festival is bringing together art and science; using music, animation and more.

Seals to songs: turning science into music

Animating mating krill: from Antarctic ocean floor to online music video

Seals to songs: turning science into music

Sound-artist Nigel Helyer works with jazz musicians and marine biologists to turn science into sound.

In a performance at the Ultimo Science Festival in Sydney next week, the musicians won’t play from sheet music—they’ll improvise from visual representations of scientific data collected from elephant seals in the Southern Ocean.

“In the first movement, the saxophonist will be improvising from patterns taken from depth and salinity measurements collected via a tag on a southern elephant seal. Piano, double bass and guitar will each represent a different variable, like surface wind speed,” says Dr Nigel Helyer, a Sydney based sculptor and sound artist with an international reputation for his large scale sonic installations, environmental works and new media projects.

“The idea is that we can have someone in the audience enjoying the piece for the music and we can also have a scientist discovering something about their data they didn’t see before.”

The performance is a product of Nigel’s long-term collaboration with University of Tasmania biologist Dr Mary-Anne Lea and musicians from the University of Tasmania Conservatorium Of Music.

The performance is part of the “Art and Science Soiree” at 5.30pm Thursday 16 August: http://ultimosciencefestival.com/2012/science-art-and-design-practioners-collaboration-evening/

To listen to previous performances and find out more about Dr Nigel Helyer:


For interviews, contact Dr Nigel Helyer on 0419 493 495, sonique1@me.com; or Frankie Lee on 0419 448 847, frankie@scienceinpublic.com.au.

Animating mating krill: from Antarctic ocean floor to online music video

A video of tiny crustaceans having sex was taken at the bottom of the ocean off the coast of Antarctica. Now it’s been transformed into an animation and remixed online into a music video.

“Scientists from the Australian Antarctic Division took this video of krill mating and I worked with them to transform it, frame by frame, into an animation, so we could figure out what was going on,” says Dr Lisa Roberts, an artist and Visiting Fellow in design and environmental science at the University of Technology Sydney.

“A girl from Dallas, Jodi Shaw, saw my animation and remixed it with some of her music. The science of krill is now reaching a whole new audience.”

The animation is part of an exhibition “Oceanic Living Data: Animated hypotheses, stories, data and iconography”.

The exhibition, which shows Antarctic science reinterpreted into art, is on at The Muse, in Harris St, Ultimo, NSW, and is open throughout the Ultimo Science Festival, with a special forum on 1pm-4 pm Sunday 19 August.

For more on the “Living data – art from science” exhibition on from 10am-4pm, 16-26 August: http://ultimosciencefestival.com/2012/living-data-art-from-science/

The music video can be found here: http://vimeo.com/45863155

Lisa’s original animation can be found here: www.antarcticanimation.com/content/animation/dokrillhavesex.php

For more about Lisa Roberts: http://livingdata.net.au/

For interviews, contact Dr Lisa Roberts on 0428 502 805, Lisa@lisaroberts.com.au or Frankie Lee on 0419 448 847, frankie@scienceinpublic.com.au

About the Ultimo Science Festival

Ultimo Science Festival 2012 is 11 days of science on Harris St, Sydney: talks, activities, workshops, comedy, exhibitions and films for all ages. More information atwww.ultimosciencefestival.com