'Encoded Revolt'

 

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.

A lecture given at The Design Museum explaining the project in more detail can be found here:

https://www.imogenpiper.co.uk/at-the-design-museum