Uneasy Listening The Underused Art of Sonifying Data to tell Stories of Social Injustices

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Gabi Sobliye Leil-Zahra Mortada

Abstract

In this article, we explore the use of data sonification through examples and interviews with people that have developed projects that span a wide variety of subjects, from culture to human rights activism, among which stands out Egypt Building Collapses, a visualization and sonification conducted by Tactical Tech in collaboration with Yahia Shawkat and the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. We also present here three types of information that are adequate to transform into audible sound. Along this, we pose the question about the media traditionally used by activists, who generally tend to favour visualizations. The article does not pretend to formulate a critique of the visual, but rather elaborate an argument in favour of the compelling territory of sound, whose potential remains largely unexplored. Tactical Tech, the collective in which we participate, is a NGO based in Berlin in which expert in technologies, activists, journalists and leaders work to create awareness about personal information, privacy and digital security.

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