Music of the Spheres – A Conversation with Dan Tapper

Dan Tapper is a British artist based in Toronto that combines his interest in code and celestial form. In the past he has mapped sonic geographies, created documentaries about Very Low Frequency (VLF) sound, and explored the poetry of code. This past August CAN attended Turbulent Forms an exhibition at the Canadian Music Centre that presenting Tapper’s visualizations of cosmic phenomena. Alongside these artworks there was a performance, presenting the artist alongside several composers – all of them playing sonifications or cosmic data inflected techno and electroacoustic compositions. The presentation of this work was the culmination of an interdisciplinary workshop in which Tapper shared his research and methods with composers and artists including Allison Cameron, Bekah Simms, and Mehrnaz Rohbaksh; the results were all over the place, but the aesthetics across the project’s many outputs suggested potential. We left with the sense Tapper had struck a vein and the event boldly underscored what was surely a viable multi-year research project.

In the interest of shining a light on Tapper’s research we engaged in an extended conversation with the artist. In this exchange he describes the origins of his interest in cosmology, touches on questions of fidelity and representation when working with data, and describes how he ‘workshopped’ his research methods to invite other artists into the fold.

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