Atmosphéries and the poetics of the in situ : the role and impact of sensors in data-to-sound transposition installations

Published in AM ’21: Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Audio Mostly, 2021

Recommended citation: Anne Despond, Vincent Cusson, and Nicolas Reeves. 2021. Atmosphéries and the poetics of the in situ : the role and impact of sensors in data-to-sound transposition installations. In AM ’21: Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Audio Mostly, September 01–03, 2021, Virtual. ACM, New York, NY, USA.

Abstract: Atmosphéries is a research-creation program which produced a series of art installations originally called “Cloud Harps”, that has known multiple transformations since their first instantiation in 1997. They are basically made of sculptural wooden “buffets” integrating different sensors that probe the sky and the surroundings to collect various atmospheric data. An internal process tuned by a human composer then maps these data to different audio parameters from a custom-made synthesis environment to create never-ending sound and musical sequences. The present paper presents artistic and technological considerations about real-time sensing of clouds in a sonic art installation context. Particular attention is given to the limitations and artefacts produced by such specialized sensors, and how we can embrace those to remain consistent with the locality and temporality aspects of in situ works.