Encoded Revolt

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



06/2017



This intallation iteration of Encoded Revolt was exhibited as part of The Imperial War Museum’s Representing Conflict exhibition. When a airstrike in Syria was reported on the online platform UA Syria Map the installation would convert the coordinates and belligerent reportedly responsible into hexadecimal code according to the system I developed. The two paddled drumsticks would then begin to strike the Udu drum; the duration between each note denoting a digit in the code and translating the airstike data into sound which in turn would echo around the War Museum.
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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.