Listening to Watling Street


Dr Shawn Graham


“Listening to Watling Street” is Dr. Shawn Graham’s experiment into sonifying the digital representation of the past – translating what we traditionally see and formalise onto a shelf in a museum or a database into a series of both pleasant and discordant notes, allowing us to explore an unseen experience of the Roman world. Within the song you hear crecendoes and dimuendoes that reflect concentrated areas in the archaeological record – literally allowing the inscriptions to speak to the listener, opening a new, dynamic door for understanding the Roman past. 

The Visualisation

Judges’ Comments

The judges were absolutely captivated by the brilliant subversion of what is traditionally a highly visual form of representation into a rhythmic soundscape, commenting that it opened up a totally new way to see and think about the past. The novel, insightful nature of the work, the innovative implementation of audio and visual media forms, combined with the clarity and thoroughness of the paradata led the judges to select this piece as one of three judges’ choice awards for the online jam, stipulating that they would very much like to see the method discussed in the paradata expanded to include further imagery and for more implementations to be produced.


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