Encoded Revolt

exhibited at
Syria: A Conflict Explored,
The Imperial War Museum


This particular interation of Encoded Revolt was performed at the opening of The Imperial War Museum’s Syria: A Conflict Explored series. The piece of music encodes the date, coordinates, belligerent responsible and reported casualty data of an airstrike occuring in Idlib, Syria on the morining of the event.
Encoded Revolt consists of an an ongoing series of works, that I first began developing in 2017. These works, performed and exhibited at The Imperial War Museum and The Design Museum, encode the coordinates and surrounding data of airstrikes in the Syrian conflict within music notation; acting as a new form of embedded political activism.

A sense of urgency to protect the digitally stored and often contested data of airstrikes led me to experiment with translating digital languages into analogue forms as a means of preservation. This culminated in the development of a methodology converging the widely used computer code hexadecimal with the musical systems of Serialism. Pioneered by composers Arnold Schoenberg and Oliver Messiaen, Serialism is a compositional movement which uses ordered series of musical elements to systematically produce music that is atonal and unified. To encode the airstrike data I adapted Schoenberg’s 12 tone series and Messiaen’s 24 duration series for the base 16 code hexadecimal. With every hexadecimal digit denoted by both a tone and a duration, with the incorporation of Serialist compositional techniques, digital data could be performed, preserved and progressively ciphered in music.

Cellist: Milan Tarascas