ALMA Sounds participates in Sonar+D Festival in Barcelona

ALMA Sounds participates in Sonar+D Festival in Barcelona

17 June, 2016 / Read time: 4 minutes

ALMA Sounds, the project that brings together artists and astronomers in the search for a common language, will take part in the Sónar+D festival in Barcelona, Spain, where it was invited to participate after its stellar role in the Chilean version in late 2015. From June 16 to 18, 2016, the project will have a stand in the innovation and technology fair that operates parallel to the Sónar festival, and some of its creators will participate in a round table on science and art.

In late 2015, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the Department of Astronomy of the Universidad de Chile (DAS) in conjunction with Sónar+D and Corporación Chilena de Video, invited musicians and artists to work with sounds created from the observations of the most powerful radiotelescope in the world.

“The ALMA sound bank is made up of a series of drum shots created from the sound pattern of electromagnetic spectra from the Orion Nebula,” explains astronomer Antonio Hales. “The emission lines of each molecule present in Orion were transformed into a sound note, transposing the 'chords' from the skies into sound chords. The sound bank is, as its name implies, a digital library of sounds available to the musical community.”

The initiative arose from the SonarSound Santiago festival held on December 5, 2015, in Santiago's former Los Cerrillos Airport. After the event, musicians continued to use the ALMA Sounds online platform, which now has over 3,200 registered users who have used these sounds to create their own melodies, many of which were later shared on the same platform. Also, dj Luciano just launched a vinyl record with some of these songs.

Electronic music fans discover the ALMA Sounds booth at Sónar+D - Barcelona. Credit: A. Peredo - ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO) | Download image

Thanks to a specially configured interface, visitors can play and compose their own cosmic songs with ALMA Sounds. Credit: A. Peredo - ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO) | Download image

Sound and innovation fair Sónar+D will be open in Barcelona until Saturday June, 18. Credit: A. Peredo - ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO) | Download image

The success of this experience resulted in the invitation to participate in the new version of the Sónar+D festival to be held in Fira de Montjuic in Barcelona. The project will be renovated for the occasion: it will include a new stand with digital push instruments, which will have midi interface to enable the audience to interact directly with the ALMA Sounds cosmic sound bank and accompany the radiotelescope images and videos being projected on large screens. The Chilean collective Trimex will also have an artistic representation of the planets in the Solar System.

In addition to these events, on Friday, June 17, at 4:30 pm, there will be a round table led by the project curator, Enrique Rivera, with the participation of ALMA astronomer, Antonio Hales, and Mónica Bello, who is responsible for the relationship between science and art in the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). This round table will address issues such as: What incentives exist to incorporate artists into scientific workspaces? How does the way they interact transform as they get to know each other better?

Details of the new ALMA Sounds website and the round table at Sónar+D.

Additional information

ALMA is a partnership of ESO (representing its member states), NSF (USA) and NINS (Japan), together with NRC (Canada), NSC and ASIAA (Taiwan), and KASI (Republic of South Korea), in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. The Joint ALMA Observatory is operated by ESO, AUI/NRAO and NAOJ.

More images of the event here