Fathom is a multimedia piece by Ben Neill and Mimi Goese in collaboration with the Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries (BIRE) of Clarkson University. The piece is commissioned with the help of a New Music USA grant awarded in Summer 2016. BIRE is a not-for-profit environmental research organization working to expand understanding of rivers and estuaries for the benefit of public health, ecosystems, New York’s economy and quality of life.
One of BIRE’s most important projects is monitoring of environmental data in the Hudson River through their REON system, which streams from multiple sensor arrays. Neill was approached in 2016 by BIRE to create a musical piece based on the scientific data, and asked his collaborator Mimi Goese to work with him on it. The duo is scheduled to premiere Fathom at the Towne Crier Café in Beacon, New York on November 17, 2016 as part of the Science Cafe series.
The musical material in Fathom will be directly derived from the REON data streams using a variety of computer software. The patterns can either generate sounds directly or be translated into conventional musical notation for the performers. During the performance real time video animations of the patterns will be projected using a video performance program. As the work unfolds, the visual graphs and data will be processed and manipulated by the performers, literally turning the science into art in both the sonic and visual realms.