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VOX AETERNA - Chile 2020

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(beware that the first minute or so is totally blank and silent because the COVID19 deaths started around March 2020)

VOX AETERNA - THE COVID VARIATIONS is a series of audiovisual pieces created after the sonification of COVID-19 mortality data at some chosen countries, during 2020.

The year of 2020 was a historical one for humanity. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences, nearly two million people died and every single society in the planet felt the impact of such happening in its daily basis. But even with an ongoing worldwide deadly disease we still struggle to accept the need of basic control. “We’re fighting an infodemic”, said the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in February 2020. This gap in the communication process – between the real and the perceived dimension of the challenge we are facing as society – is the core of the problem of poor understanding the macro-reality that embraces us all.

This project aims to help filling this gap through an audio visual experience. By using techniques of data sonification, sound visualization and generative audio-reactive algorithms, we created a series of audiovisual compositions where the data of mortality provoked by the Sars-CoV-2 infection in a given territory is the main source of information and, therefore, the reality to be represented. The daily mortality data in each country is interpreted by a sonification algorithm which composes the music to be, then, reinterpreted in a visual manner and altered, in real time, following the dynamic of the sound layer. In that way, using the exact same parameters and choices, the system produces a different result for each country depending exclusively on the data differences during 2020.

As one of the goals of this work is to give the possibility of an experienced comparison between territories, the total number of daily deceases was gathered divided in age groups, to give another distinguishable character and element. So we will able to hear and see the difference between the impact of the disease identifying which age group was more affected in each given moment of 2020. This first version was made with a limited number of countries, but that methodology can be expanded and replicated in any group of territories we wish to compare. Here, sound and image will reinterpret data to emphasize the impact of the disease on the lives of real people and increase awareness about the real tragedy behind numbers.

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