Ocean ARTic Journal 24/V/21

First obstruction in the road. The data is arriving with figures containing up to 15 decimal points. Only now does it become clear that Max, the music software, handles only up to 6 places. The forums reveal conflicting info. Some say that double intensity floating point calculations can, with modifications to the system libraries, be undertaken, whilst others say it can only be done in Pure Data (the open source alternative to Max). Still others maintain that although the objects in the Max patch only show up to six places, the full figures are there - just unseen.

Luckily (for me) Lukrecia says that it will be no great problem to change the format/units of the data where this becomes problematic - effectively multiplying everything by something like ten million. This, in itself, scratches the anxiety about how we maintain truthful connections between the data when there are so many units to contend with. This, however, is one of those issues/potential problems that I will only be able to address by wandering directly into the programming and facing it when it hits me.


I have made a first pass at modifying the core engine that was built for the Antarctic data, removing the synthesiser streams and replacing them all with undulating sine waves. It’s a rough fix just to get a feel for what might emerge. Midi notes have been transformed to their respective frequency values, with octaves, harmonic fifths and thirds all easing in and out on independent amplitude feeds. There is room for the rate of amplitude to be triggered by data, and I’ll play around a little more with locating the frequency ranges in a zone that seems both appropriate (high = ice, low = ocean floor) and try to keep the ranges out of each others way.

Already, however, I can tell that this on its own will not be satisfying to listen to on its own - nor will it say enough about whats actually going on in the data. This is a little unfortunate because it is clear that pursuing this approach would create significantly less strain on the computer than employing multiple VST instances of synths and samplers.

I remain undecided about what to do regards rhythm/tempo.