Striking clocks have been a part of the soundscape for centuries. By rendering audible the passage of time, the technology of the clock bell created a temporal body of the populace within range of its tone. Today, however, our networked culture has created communities marked not by a shared sonic environment, but by the exchange of data, as the vast amount of information produced by our activities online and in the physical world has generates its own patterns of daily ebb and flow.
Change Ringing invokes the spirit of a town striking clock for the electroacoustic community created by the transmission of WGXC-FM in upstate New York. Each hour, on the hour, a one-minute musical piece is broadcast that sonifies data from the transmission area sampled over the previous hour. These include astronomical measurements, weather, social media, and streams from set of custom acoustic sensors placed in the landscape. The bells play at variable tempos that follow the contour of their data sources, and as the varying micro-melodies shift across repeated listenings they produce an ambient awareness of environmental change.
The piece is a feedback loop between physical geography and digital, electromagnetic, and musical encodings. It reflects on what is gained or lost in these translations and the implications of how we measure and communicate time.