ART | 2010


Processing, Supercollider, speakers, projector, packet sniffing

Leviathan is an audiovisual piece that delves into the underlying flow of network activity that is often overlooked or ignored by internet users.

Like the mythical leviathan, a sea monster in ancient bodies of water, networks are vast seas that are murky and misunderstood by those who navigate them. The analogy of a leviathan in the network is the often ignored fact that one's privacy is either weak or non-existent, and all we do via the Internet is easily viewable and usable by those lurking in the depths of networks.

Via packet sniffing, a technique that employs a software program to capture and log network traffic, I am gathering Internet Protocol (IP) addresses from a chosen network and rendering them sonically and visually. IP addresses consist of four numbers between 0 and 255, which are separated by periods. These numbers are assigned to all devices that are connected to a network and are just one of many types of information that are being broadcast at any given time by devices and their users.

Using Processing, the IP addresses are converted to an array of multicolored bands, with the four numbers used to create red, green, blue and opacity of each color. Additionally, the location of the bands is dictated by these four numbers.

The sonic component is created using Supercollider. The captured IP addresses are translated into sinusoidal waves and resonant bells, and are then sent to a multichannel (quad) array of speakers. Aspects of the sounds, such as frequency, location in the array (sound spatialization), duration and amplitude are dictated by the four numbers of the IP address.