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University of Washington

1. Ong, Joel. Aeolian Traces.

Degree: PhD, 2017, University of Washington

Aeolian Traces is a multimedia artwork installed first at the University of Washington’s Jacob Lawrence Gallery in 2016 and subsequently at the Seattle Art Museum in 2017. The project collects human migration data from the United Nation’s release of migrant figures to generate gusts of wind around the gallery space and trigger sounds in a database of recordings in these countries’ native languages. A work of data sonification and visualization, this project is an extension of two previous artworks, The Aeolus Notification System and Those who Observe the Wind.. , where wind data is harvested as a metaphor for geographical and cultural nomadism. This dissertation describes the thematic and technical development of Aeolian Traces and aforementioned works, describing the artistic, literary and theoretical research conducted at the University of Washington’s Center for Digital Art and Experimental Media (DXARTS). It further places these works in context within a growing field of information design and data-based artworks, especially in the areas of environmental and ecological data. By discussing strategies that encourage a merging of two very fraternal but institutionally separate disciplines - Design and Art, the works presented offer ways information and affect may coexist as commensal entities. Chapter one provides a brief, practical introduction to Aeolian Traces. Chapter two expands on the interdisciplinary backdrop of contemporary hybrid or informational ecologies and art that informs the artwork. Chapters three through five detail the artistic and theoretical research, studio experimentations, and gallery documentation of each individual installation. Finally, the dissertation concludes with reflections on the body of work as a whole, and future projects of these ideas into further artworks. Advisors/Committee Members: Pampin, Juan (advisor).

Subjects/Keywords: Ambisonics; Data Aesthetics; Installation Art; Media Theory; Fine arts; Information science; Music; Digital arts and experimental media

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APA (6th Edition):

Ong, J. (2017). Aeolian Traces. (Doctoral Dissertation). University of Washington. Retrieved from

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Ong, Joel. “Aeolian Traces.” 2017. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Washington. Accessed October 19, 2018.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Ong, Joel. “Aeolian Traces.” 2017. Web. 19 Oct 2018.


Ong J. Aeolian Traces. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. University of Washington; 2017. [cited 2018 Oct 19]. Available from:

Council of Science Editors:

Ong J. Aeolian Traces. [Doctoral Dissertation]. University of Washington; 2017. Available from: