System of a Sound explores a dialogue between data, language and humans to create music. Through artificial intelligence, real-time data is translated into text and matched to a human-tagged music database to create an evolving music stream.

Data from social media (the ANU School of Cybernetics’ Twitter account), commerce (Australian economic data from the World Bank), infrastructure (Australian infrastructure data from the World Bank), governance (public sector data from the World Bank), culture (the most-read Wikipedia articles worldwide), and nature (Canberra's carbon emissions) are used as layers representing the ANU Birch Building and its surrounds as a living soundscape.

Canberra's real-time weather data influences the music’s modality; sunny weather elicits sounds judged by Birch’s inhabitants to be happy, cloudy weather melancholic, and partly-cloudy weather more netural. The "pace layers" symbolise the pace of change in a system: Stewart Brand and Paul Saffo suggest that faster layers innovate, and slower layers stabilise the system.

Josh Andres, Rodolfo Ocampo, Oliver Bown, Charlton Hill, Caroline Pegram, Adrian Schmidt, Justin Shave, Brendan Wright

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Privacy Statement
Before participating in this experience, you should know that the School of Cybernetics and the ANU take privacy seriously. Please take the time to read the ANU Privacy Policy if you have not done so. These policies contain contact details and processes for correcting or deleting your personal information from our systems, as well as information about how data is collected, used and stored at the ANU.

For this experience, we do not collect information - the device’s camera is used to enable gesture tracking as a way to control a digital musical instrument. No images are stored or uploaded to external servers. The text you see on the screen is generated by a large language generative model. While this model offers a content safety filter, and it's activated in this experience, we cannot guarantee that, on rare occasions, the content could be sensitive.

For further questions, please contact with the subject header "System of a Sound" for any further questions you may have.