Moel Y Gaer, Bodfari

Keywords - Data Sonification, Topographical Archeological Maps, Generative Sound Design

This piece was created in collaboration with Gary Lock, the director of the University of Oxford School of Archaeology’s excavation project at Moel Y Gaer, Bodfari in the fall of 2016. Moel Y Gaer, Bodfari is an iron age hill fort located in northern wales. The project to explore, uncover, and document the landmark was started in 2011 by the School Of Archaeology at Oxford and is ongoing. The diagrams below show “different types of maps/plans/photos” (Gary Lock) of the excavation site and were provided by the school.

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The piece was conceived by converting these diagrams into Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) files and constructing them in a graphical music notation software called Iannix. Once reconstructed, I was able to allocate different nodes (blue dots) throughout the structure based on points of interest found in excavation. There are dozens of orange cursors that move along the lines of the map. Once they pass a node, a message is sent to Max/MSP (music production software) which triggers a specific sound based on which node is struck.

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Above Image Key:

purple lines - tops of slopes

light blue lines - bottoms of slopes

dark blue dots - rabbit holes

black dotted line - a path

yellow dotted line - possible bottom of slope

dark grey background dots and marks - sub-surface features

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The Piece is focused around the idea that one work of art can be directly influenced, and in some cases dictated, by data. In this case, a piece of music that is the product of modern and sophisticated musical technology is directly influenced and structured by data from ancient architecture. The music attempts to capture this juxtaposition of the old and new and is meant to create an almost web-like cloud of texture that is constantly morphing and assuming new dramatic qualities as the cursors move through the map.

This piece has been performed/presented in both installation and traditional concert settings. However, I have found more success in installation settings.

The diagram below shows a top projection scheme for a multichannel presentation of Moel Y Gaer, Bodfari:

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Moel Y Gaer, Bodfari is a generative piece that can run for an indefinite length. The following documentation is a selected excerpt:

Christopher Lock is a computer musician, creative programmer, and film composer currently based in Cambridge, MA. He creates densely textural electronic music which slowly mutates and morphs over time and is often saturated with dark imagery or phantasmagoria. His musical practice stems from a tradition of Baltimore area noise music, where he first started experimenting with sound.

Through out his education Christopher has been fortunate to study with such musical visionaries as Esperanza Spalding, Meredith Monk, Vijay Iyer, Claire Chase, Thomas Dolby, Chaya Czernowin, Hans Tutschku.

In the spring of 2022 Christopher was the appointed Teaching Fellow for Esperanza Spalding’s Songwright's Apothecary Lab at Harvard University where he worked with Prof. Spalding and the students intimately during the semester to develop a concert program of new original works.

Christopher is an active composer of film music and has worked with artists such as Ezekiel Goodman (I Know What You Did Last Summer) and Robert Eng (Mullholand Drive, Twin Peaks, Corroline). In January of 2022 Christopher composed original music for Giovanna Molina's Deer Girl which was an official selection for the Sundance Institute's Ignite x Adobe Fellowship.

In the summer of 2019 his audio/visual work, in collaboration with his grandmother (also called Chris Lock), was screened at the Venice Biennale from May 8th to June 4th. The video was projected in the Palazzo Pesaro Papafava as part of the UK's.

In April of 2022 Christopher produced and performed original electronic music for LuChen's debut runway show in Manhattan, which was later reviewed positively by Vogue Magazine, Fashion Week, and other major publications.

Christopher is currently a Ph.D candidate in Music and Computer Science at Harvard University. He holds a Master’s Degree in Computer Music from Harvard, a Bachelors Degree in Computer Music from Johns Hopkins University (Peabody Conservatory), and a second Bachelors degree in viola performance (also from Hopkins).

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