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The alchemy of chaos: A sound art sonification of a year of Tourette’s episodes

Mitchell, Thomas J.; Thom, Jess; Pountney, Matthew; Hyde, Joseph


Tom Mitchell
Associate Professor in Creative Technologies

Jess Thom

Matthew Pountney

Joseph Hyde


Touretteshero is the name of a organisation that aims to raise awareness of Tourette's syndrome by sharing and celebrating the creativity and humor of the involuntary vocal and movement tics that characterise the condition. This paper documents the development of a Touretteshero project called The Alchemy of Chaos, a sound art piece that translates a year of intensive ticcing episodes (or `ticcing fits') into a six minute sonification. The work emphasises both the faithful representation of data and the aesthetic sound quality, drawing techniques and ideas from sound design for film, which is often used to convey information about a visual scene in ways that can be used for sonfication. Specifically, the work uses Chion's elements of auditory setting: short punctual sounds that can express locations with minimal sonic references. Sound parameters are also classified into groups that have `data significance' and those that do not, with aesthetic interventions limited to those parameters that do not impact on data transparency. The resulting piece was included within a keynote talk at the Royal Albert Hall in the UK and the paper includes a qualitative reflection on the work and the potential value that sound design techniques for film can bring to the auditory display community.


Mitchell, T. J., Thom, J., Pountney, M., & Hyde, J. (2019, June). The alchemy of chaos: A sound art sonification of a year of Tourette’s episodes. Paper presented at The 25th International Conference on Auditory Display (ICAD 2019), Northumbria University, Northumbria, England

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name The 25th International Conference on Auditory Display (ICAD 2019)
Conference Location Northumbria University, Northumbria, England
Start Date Jun 23, 2019
End Date Jun 27, 2019
Acceptance Date Jun 23, 2019
Deposit Date May 28, 2019
Publicly Available Date May 28, 2019
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords sonification, sound design, SOUND ART, Auditory Display
Public URL
Publisher URL
Related Public URLs
Additional Information Title of Conference or Conference Proceedings : The 25th International Conference on Auditory Display (ICAD 2019)


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