Stairway to Helheim : Eight-channel site-specific sonification installation [online version]

Research output: Creative and Literary Works in Non-textual Form (RGC: 42, 43, 44, 46, 47)44_Performance and participation in exhibits

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Original languageEnglish
Media of outputOnline
Size15 mins.
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2022


TitleDAT/ACT Data Art for Climate Action Gallery
LocationSinging Waves Gallery (Online)
CityHong Kong
Period23 February - 22 May 2022


Stairway to Helheim
On: 2021-11-10
In: 2021, event, installation

by PerMagnus Lindborg (2021). Eight-channel site-specific sound installation for Soundislands: Re:Sound at ArtScience Museum, Singapore.

Stairway to Helheim is a sonification of meteorological data for Hong Kong covering 138 years, between January 1884 and September 2021, of daily rainfall and temperature, monthly ‘hot nights’ and ‘hot days’, as well as yearly sea level averages in Victoria Harbour. The data were calculated from files graciously provided by Hong Kong Observatory. A total of 1654 rows of monthly data were rendered to yield 60 minutes of multichannel audio.

The sonic material for the piece was based on action recordings of sound objects such as chairs, bottles, balls, and compact discs, made in October 2021 at SoundLab, City University of Hong Kong, by the author assisted by Manni Chen and Daye Yoon. The author made post-recording edits in Logic Pro, data pre-processing in R, and sound synthesis in Max. The loudspeaker installation in the ArtScience museum staircase between levels 3 and 4 was made by Yong Rongzhao.

In Norse mythology, Helheim is the lowest part of the afterworld, the world of the dead. It is ruled by the goddess of death, Hel, a daughter of Loki. As visitors tread the thirty-six steps from level three to level four of the ArtScience Museum, they are met with sonic objects falling onto them, running down the staircase steps, cascading down like a river, moving stealthily in the opposite direction like a Slinky, or obscenely bouncing down like yoga balls, a hundred tennis balls, a thousand ping pong balls, or more. The stream of objects never-ending, the visitors will nevertheless eventually succeed to reach the fourth floor. Released from the struggle, they float serenely into the calm of the top level – is it Parnassum, Helheim, or Purgatory? Or is it another test altogether?

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Citation Format(s)

Stairway to Helheim: Eight-channel site-specific sonification installation [online version]. Lindborg, PerMagnus (Author). 2022. Event details: DAT/ACT Data Art for Climate Action Gallery, Singing Waves Gallery (Online), Hong Kong, China.

Research output: Creative and Literary Works in Non-textual Form (RGC: 42, 43, 44, 46, 47)44_Performance and participation in exhibits