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Jiyeh (2006) Jonathan Berger

Jiyeh is a small coastal town in Lebanon built upon the ancient city of Porphyreon, which is said to be the place where a giant fish delivered Jonah to the shore.

On July 14th 2006 a coastal power station in Jiyeh was attacked in an Israeli air strike causing over 20,000 tons of oil to spill into the Mediterranean Sea. Although there has been relatively little information regarding the ecological impact of this maassive spill a series of sattelite photos show the dispersion pattern of the oil. These patterns appear as Baroque-like ornaments that distort the contour of the Lebanese coast line. The music represents the evolution of these patterns and providing an auditory display of the enormity of this disaster.


Jonathan Berger is a composer and researcher. Berger's research includes developing methods and tools for effective auditory display of complex data. His recent recording of chamber music for strings will be released this Spring by Naxos recordings on their American Masters series.

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updated images of the coastal oil spill: http://www.zki.dlr.de/applications/2006/lebanon/lebanon_2006_modis_en.html

Google Maps layered view of the spill over time:


Sonification methods:

Since the oil dissemenated in a generally northern direction, image scans were done from south to north (by flipping the image). In addition to Woon Seung Yeo's raster scan synthesis ( http://ccrma.stanford.edu/~woony/works/raster ) which provided the following basic sound source materials:


The dimensions and shape of the spill shown in each sattelite image is represented in the following ways: The width of the spill at each sampled location is sonified by setting filter bandwidth (measured south to north each 25 pixels) at each sample position. Coastal shape as well as the western edges of the spill in each image. are mapped to melodic pitch. A fair amount of 'artistic license' was then applied.