Sounding Tides (2022)

Kinetic installation and App for Curiocity.

Composer and experimental musician Erik Griswold joins forces with climate change social scientist Rebecca Cunningham to create a kinetic sound sculpture that asks whether we can hear the climate changing.


Tides are some of the most constant phenomena in nature. The ebb and flow, the repetitive undulating rhythms, the constant tensions. Anthropogenic climate change rises tides around the world. Sounding Tides is an interactive musical composition and a sonification of scientific data that translates 40 years of data into sound and allows us to listen to these changes.


We hear the tides represented as slowly pulsing chords, shifting noise spectra, and dancing musical arpeggios, and we see the sound waves rippling and bubbling in water held within five large bowls.


The musician/scientist duo are interested in the ways ideas transform and new insights can be discovered when exploring data in a tactile and multi-sensory fashion. By sonifying the repeating cycles of the tides, hypnotic and meditative musical textures have been created using sine waves and white noise generators, accompanied by sampled piano. An interactive app enables participants to explore and mix the sonified data in their own way.



We know that climate change is causing sea levels to rise, and tides to get higher. Now, listen to the sculpture. Do you hear the pulse of the tides as they ebb and flow? Do you see the ripples and bubbles they cause in the water? Can you hear the climate changing?


A demonstrator will be on site during Curiocity to explain how to mix sonified data with the interactive app.


Other information about Sounding Tides: