SUAL Archives | 2012

Cormac Crawley: Magnetoception — A Geomagnetic Flight

Duration:     10‘09“
Type:             Source recording provided by the artist
Notes:          Presented in conjunction with the shut up and listen! Award 2012


A Geomagnetic Flight

As well as the electrical storms we are familiar with, there is currently an intermittent barrage of space weather penetrating our atmosphere. This solar activity is usually directed by our magnetosphere toward the North and South Poles but recent intensity has meant that natural light displays have been visible below the Scandinavian Peninsula; in places such as Denmark, Northern Germany and Poland, UK, Ireland and more Eastern European countries; in the form of Aurora Borealis. The sun is currently in an active phase of its 11-year solar weather cycle and is expected to reach peak activity in 2013. It emits electromagnetic frequencies inaudible to us naturally; however, quite a lot of this behaviour has been sonically recorded and catalogued by Nasa. Magnetoception is a hypothesis, suggested by the migratory process, that birds are sensitive to magnetic fields including some of these geomagnetic disturbances and the notion is referenced in this piece: A sonification of geomagnetic commotion including recordings of the sun’s magnetic heartbeat, cosmic debris, solar flares, emissions from other solar objects, and how some of these pass through our earth’s atmosphere and interact in the skies above.

Side Notes

This is an 8 channel tape piece of 10 minutes and 9 seconds in duration and was composed in 2012.
All source material for this piece originates from audio taken from NASA space shuttle/satellite recordings, from electromagnetic receivers that intercept vlf (very low frequencies) and transmit these signals live online and from birds that may also be sensitive to such frequencies.

[Cormac Crawley]

[info as of 01/2019]

Cormac Crawley

Cormac is a postgraduate student of Queen’s University, Belfast. Having completed his MA in Music Technology he enrolled in the Sonic Arts Research Centre of Queen’s to further explore the research interests he realised during his Masters. His PhD is based on interactive composition in relation to the natural audible environment. He develops interactive scenarios that harness the relationship between environment and the audio produced in that environment. Cormac’s research is tied closely to acoustic ecology. In his compositions and installations he attempts to personify harmonious relationships within the soundscape whilst also highlighting causal relationships of negligence and dissonance. This often involves the use of sensory technology interacting with various aspects of the climatic environment which will ultimately assist the compositional output.

[info as of 11/2012]