Gadus morhua is a telematic sound art and installation project about satellite data and the pursuit of shoals of Atlantic cod. Atlantic cod make up nearly 40% of Icelandic fisheries' total seafood export revenue. Cod are, likewise, culturally important to much of the North Atlantic. The economic need for codfish, coupled with warming ocean temperatures, has resulted in Icelandic ships traveling far afield, fishing more aggressively, or relying on trawling as the primary fishing method. Small town cod economies are struggling to sustain major codfishing ports given the increased presence of massive trawlers moving in and out of the Reykjavik markets and monopolizing the fish catches.
This generative sound project tracks the GPS movements of small ships in the process of fishing in the Greenland Sea. GPS data of real-time boat location is uploaded via satellite to marine traffic monitoring websites. This data is then fed into custom software that generates synthesized sonic information based on stretched field recordings of the sea and cod song. Tone and chordal qualities change depending on the number of boats and their latitude and longitude. The resulting thrumming soundscape is always changing, ebbing, and flowing depending on the rise and fall of cod presence, the season, the regional weather, and anything else that might affect fishing ship traffic. In this way, the boats and cod shoals are like improvising musicians in a never-ending free jazz set.
generative sound work / telematic sound art performance