When the stars align I blog about climate change and sustainability ideas. Here I catalog innovative ideas that I think contribute to a sustainable and authentic lifestyle. I love art, design, technology, and to travel. I love the idea of minimalism and philosophies that discuss creating value so those ideas sneak in here and there. 

Data Bells


As the metaphorical alarm bells sound on the climate crisis, climate data-derived bells are making music.

By combining science and technolgy artist Peter Shenai and composer Laurence Osborn have created sculptural and musical art based on human-induced climate change since industrialization.

Being a data nerd myslf, I found the bell construction concept and methodology particularly interesting. Shenai used data of average annual global temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere and separates the data into 6 sets. The sets were taken from the post-industrial period 1912 to 2013 and then divided every 17 years. The data distribution from each set was then graphed, resulting in a 'bell curve.' After obtaining his bell curves, Shenai took the bell curve profiles and using 3D visualization software, created a surface that upholds the profile integrity and whose volume represents the mean temperature over the period. In fact, the volumes of each bell are proportional to the average temperature over each 17-year period so that as temperatures rise the bells get bigger. The variation in volume and shape result in a unique sound for each bell. In Shenai's words, "these bells... sonically narrate the story of climate change since the industrial revolution."

Shenai 3D printed his models and from them created plaster molds. This is from what the bronze bells were cast.

When the six bells are hit sequentially they produce what is called a "tone row." It is this tone row that composer Laurence Osborn used as inspiration for the composition Change Ringing. With the aid of 3 violins, 3 violas, 2 violoncelli, a double bass, and and assortment of percussion instruments, 25 year old Osborn uses the medium of music to allow audiences to engage with the topical and relevant issue of climate change. 

And one must imagine that the use of bells --a historically ritualistic instrument known for bringing people together-- symbolizes a call for solidarity in the face climate change.

Change Ringing debuted this summer at the London Symphony Orchestra Soundhub Showcase Concert in London in June, was performed at the Greenman Festival in August, and has ucoming shows in December.

I personally can't wait to hear what climate change actually sounds like.