Data Sensorium

Data Sensorium

Data Sensorium is a project that aims to create sensory experiences of data, translating and transmediating across visual, aural, tactile, olfactory, and gustatory registers. If we begin with data that we can see, what does it sound, feel, smell, or taste like? How does our experience of how data feels change if we add additional senses? Or if we experience it in the absence of one of these senses? How can we make these data experiences available online to share sensory experiences across distance?

In pursuit of answers to these questions, Data Sensorium interfaces with artistic and creative practice, critical data studies, data visualization and visceralization, disability studies, aesthetic theory, and community engagement to interrogate our collective and individual experience of data through the senses.

We are currently working on our first exhibit, “The Sense of Campus,” which takes soundscapes collected on the Dartmouth campus and reimagine and reinterpret the sonic data for other senses. Visitors to the exhibit will be able to experience the soundscapes in concert with or in the absence of other sensory experiences of the data. For example, how does touching sound while listening to it create a new, focused experience of places we routinely, unthinkingly inhabit? How does smell augment the experience? When we remove one of these senses, how does our perception of the data change? We’re also exploring how 3D scanning and immersive storytelling can make at least some sensory aspects of data available for others who’d like to engage with a sensory experience of campus.

Status as of 2024

  • We’ve collected hours of soundscapes from indoor and outdoor public spaces on campus, with the assistance of Dartmouth students Mehmet Can Yilmaz, Vidhi Piparia, Sofia Ishpahani, and Jesuferanmi Ayanlade.
  • Along with students, we are experimenting with using the sounds to create instruments, ambient soundtracks and lo-fi beats, and are mapping the sounds to speculatively imagine a different kind of university from these sounds.
  • With translator, curator, and ceramics artist Veronika Yadukha, we are exploring how to translate sounds from particular locations into tactile experiences, such as this pot that encodes sound data through textures:

A pot overlaid with textures translating sound into touch

  • Date: November 1, 2023
  • Categories: Coming Soon
  • Collaborators: Allie Martin, Roopika Risam, Jacqueline Wernimont, Veronika Yadukha, Jesuferanmi Ayanlade, Sofia Ishpahani, Vidhi Piparia, Mehmet Can Yilmaz<br />
  • Funders: Digital Humanities and Social Engagement Cluster, Dartmouth College