IEI - Inner Earth Interpreter
©© D.V. Rogers 02012


The development of Interior Earth Interpreter (IEI) is an arts-science, research residency commissioned by the Australia Council for the Arts, and hosted by the Allosphere Research Facility at UCSB during 2012. Creating IEI is a collaboration between media artists, musicians, computer scientists and geophysicists towards creating an immersive visualisation and auditory display of seismic waves travelling through the interior of the earth.

This artistic research project is focused on generating IEI-A (Abstract) which investigates the following;

1. Experimental approaches to making 'audible' digitally recorded seismic waveform data.
2. A study of the tools developed by the geo-sciences generating numerical based visualization of seismic wave equations.

It is envisioned this research focused residency will result in developing a scientific based proof of concept (IEI-S) which demonstrates the potential for the earth sciences to collaborate with the Allosphere Research Facility.

140 Allosphere speakers will be spatially mapped to represent Seismic Shadow Zone theory.

Auditory Seismology

"Philosophical and psychological research results show that there is a substantial difference between seeing and hearing a data set, because both evolve and accentuate different aspects of a phenomenon. From a philosophical point of view the eye is good for recognizing structure, surface and steadiness, whereas the ear is good for recognizing time, continuum, remembrance and expectation. In studying aspects like tectonic structure, surface deformation and regional seismic risk the visual modes of depiction are hard to surpass. But in questions of timely development, of characterization of a fault's continuum and of tension between past and expected events the acoustic mode of representation seems to be very suitable." - Florian Dombois

The naturally occurring geophysical properties of earthquakes effectively cause the earth to ring like a bell as seismic waves propagate and travel through the earth. The frequencies of seismic waves are below the range of human hearing, but when digitally recorded seismograms are sped up by factors of 5 to 500 the sound of these un-listenable events become audible to the human ear.

Seismic waves have a frequency spectrum below 1 Hz. The human audio spectrum ranges between 20 Hz - 20 kHz which is much above the spectrum of the earth's rumbling and rupture. Using computational processing, the time axis of a seismogram can be sped up enabling the seismometric record of actual seismic events to be sonified and audificated producing audible sound waves which fit within the ranges of the human ears acoustic criteria of audible sound. Scanned synthesis techniques convert the frequencies of seismic events into the human hearing range while maintaining the original time frame signature of recorded earthquakes.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

About Allosphere

The AlloSphere, a 30-foot diameter sphere built inside a 3-story near-to-anechoic (echo free) cube, allows for synthesis, manipulation, exploration and analysis of large-scale data sets in an environment that can simulate virtually real sensorial perception. It is a physical place designed to facilitate creativity and incubate ideas via collaboration. Researchers find a multitude of interactive interfaces for research into: scientific visualization, numerical simulations, data mining, visual/aural abstract data representations, knowledge discovery, systems integration, human perception, and many other areas of inquiry.

Scientifically, it is an instrument for gaining insight and developing bodily intuition about environments into which the body cannot venture: abstract, higher-dimensional information spaces, the worlds of the very small or very large, and the realms of the very fast or very slow, in fields ranging from nanotechnology to theoretical physics, from proteomics to cosmology, from neurophysiology to the spaces of consciousness, and from new materials to new media. Artistically, the AlloSphere is an instrument for the creation and performance of avant-garde new works and the development of entirely new modes and genres of expression and forms of immersion-based entertainment, fusing future art, architecture, music, media, games, cinema, and more.

More about the Allosphere HERE.