'The Breathing City' is an Arts & Science collaboration between Urban Meteorologist, Dr Janet Barlow (University of Reading); Designer Chris Rose (University of Brighton); and Composer Holger Zschenderlein (University of Brighton). It centres on developing multi-sensory perspectives based on the interpretation and representation of scientific data.
In trying to understand complex events and processes, a unique interaction of the sensory, the aesthetic, the analytical and the rational occurs in all of us. Witnessing complex systems in nature, such as flowing air currents above a city or the formation of clouds, can be at once highly evocative and yet illustrative of a process explicable by theory if one has learnt to see or discover the information or ‘data’ within the system.
'The Breathing City' research project brings together diverse fields of research and practice ranging from sonic design, composition, narrative, sensory experience, haptics and cognition to urban meteorology and pollution dispersion, in a creative and exploratory dialogue.
'The Breathing City' examines the characterisation of statistical information of airflow in urban environments and the use and development of languages to interpret and communicate data through multi-sensory experience. As a work in progress, 'The Breathing City' takes the form of a soundscape composition that explores the relationship between experiential knowledge and data representations, analysis and interpretation of complex dynamic systems within the context of urban climate. Other directions within this research include multi-sensory access to data through multiple perspectives and conceptual models. In its final stage it will be presented in a multi-media exhibition/installation.
'The Breathing City' project aims to discover and provoke conversations that are concerned with complex processes in our urban environment. By using sound, diagrams, images and concepts sourced from our direct experience of what occurs in the urban domain, we can begin to share insights into the challenges of understanding localised phenomena within a global context.
Examples of how our involvement with this scheme may affect future works:
'The Breathing City' is part of the Spring Group, which is an inter-faculty Arts and Science research group of artists, designers, scientists based at the Universities of Brighton, Reading and Sussex.
'The Breathing City' project as exhibition, publication and presentation