Yemen Data Project

I’ve got a new EP out today on the New York Haunted label. It’s based on sonification of data on air strikes in the Yemen war. The data is from Yemen Data Project, an organisation that collates, analyses and shares information about the long-running civil war between government and Houthi forces. In the absence of official records, the project team collects data on political violence and on the air raids conducted by the military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and backed by the US and the UK. I used the latter dataset, covering the period from 26/03/2015 to 15/12/2017. You can download the latest datasets here: Any money I make from this EP will be donated to the Yemen Data Project.

I used pivot tables in Excel to transform data on the variable Main Target Category in combination with date and time. The categories are: civilian, cultural/heritage, economic/infrastructure, educational facility, infrastructure, international community, media, medical facility, military security target, political/tribal and unknown. Using Mathematica, I re-scaled these lists, mapped the data to notes, and outputted as MIDI files. I arranged the MIDI in Reaper and played them through Razor synth. In each track, just over 2 years of data is represented in around 2 minutes of music. Different categories of target can be heard as different sounds. The simple mapping of data to music means that the louder it is, the more air strikes are represented.

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