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Community Spotlight: Judy Twedt

ICAD 2018 Think Tank Student Scholar

So, who are you?

I’m a climate data sound artist with a background in climate modeling and atmospheric sciences. My work is dedicated to expanding public awareness of climate change so that we as a culture become more sustainable and resilient.

I turned to data sonification halfway through graduate school because I saw the power that it held to bring important datasets to life for people who might not otherwise understand them or care about them. My current projects are designing a collection of soundtracks about Arctic Climate Change, and mixing data sonification with storytelling.

How did you end up working on Sonification and Auditory Displays?

I started by experimenting one weekend with turning the Keeling Curve ( a famous record of atmospheric CO2) into a midi file using a python music library written by Pedro Kroger. I didn’t know it was called sonification at the time!

What is the role of Sonification/Auditory Display in your research?

My research in climate communication focuses on creating/composing/designing soundtracks from climate data, so sonification is absolutely central to my research. I focus on finding ways to help people understand the magnitude of climate change through the language of sound and music.

What is the most challenging part in your work?

Isolation — there is no one else working on climate data sonification at my university! I’m grateful to ICAD for the opportunity to connect with other sound engineers, artists and this professional community.

Anything special ICADders should know about you?

My earliest experience with sonification — before I knew it was called sonification — was with those old fashioned answering machines with the cassette tapes. My dad sang the ringtones of our phone number as part of the recorded message. It was super cheesy, but I still remember it!

What would you like to say to ICADders? 

Meet people! The interstitial conversations are one of the best parts of ICAD.

What is the study/tool/work in the field of auditory display you are most proud of? 

I’m most proud of this sonification of satellite data showing how Arctic Sea Ice is diminishing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uzt0qMT5mR4

Any way to learn more about your work or reach out to you?

www.judytwedt.com