zipCoda is an audio installation that creates musical compositions based on geographical and cultural data. The user enters a 5 digit zip code in to device, and a unique musical composition begins, translating the economic, social, and spatial structures of an area into a specialized musical experience. Latitude, longitude, economic indicators, population demographics, real estate prices, geotagged flickr photos and twitter posts: these elements combine to create a soundscape that highlights the subtle differences between states, counties, and neighborhoods across the country.
Data from the 2010 census is parsed and mapped to various sonic and structural properties in real time. While not wishing to divulge all decisions, a few examples of how the mapping was arranged are listed below.
1) The stability of an area (percentage of people who have lived in the same house for 5 years) is linked to the progression of the track. More stability means less change less quickly. 2) A more diverse area (an area having more evenly distributed percentages of racial groups) will have more sound-producing instruments. 3) A higher percentage of the population below the poverty level will result in a higher level of distortion. 4) Median age for a given location is directly linked to track tempo, with a higher age resulting in a slower composition.
11428 - Queens Village, NY is the zip code with the highest levels of diversity. | Download Track
99576-07093 - 99576 (Dillingham, Alaska) is the zip code with lowest population density and 07093 (West New York, New Jersey) has the highest. | Download Track
This composition uses the zipCoda program to track the Zip Codes that I have lived in throughout my life, with one measure for each year in a given location. The first three minutes highlight the small changes in different neighborhoods throughout California with an obvious change around 4 minutes upon moving to Brooklyn. | Download Track
Download the zipCoda Package (Max patch, Ableton Live session, Python scrapers, demographic txt files, etc)