9 Current State of Research

The current state of research in the area of sonification is closely associated with the International Conference for Auditory Display (ICAD).[25] It was organized for the first time in 1992 by scientists involved in the vast field of auditory display; like the subsequent formation of the sonification community, credit for the ICAD is owed above all to the scientist Gregory Kramer. It has become a global and interdisciplinary forum for the exchange of experience between researchers from disciplines such as medicine, physics, mathematics, sociology, and psychology, as well as designers and artists. The definition of the terminology relating to sonification has been honed within the scope of these conferences.

Whereas the ICAD originally treated sonification and auditory display as purely scientific methods, at the latest since the 2004 conference and the concert Listening to the Mind Listening, the ICAD has included artistic interdisciplinary approaches: ten sonifications submitted for competition were selected whose basis consisted of the data measured by an EEG as a person listened to a piece of music.[26] At ICAD 2006, as well,[27] there was a public competition based on global sociological data sets, and another was held at ICAD 2009, in which sonifications were produced based on the DNA sequence of baker’s yeast.[28] Scientific and artistic sonification were judged separately because even though scientific sonification can sound like a piece of music, for many researchers it is important to distinguish between scientific interest in knowledge and artistic concept. Thus, from a scientific perspective, the development of standards in the realization and description of sonifications is an important objective in order to enlarge its general value for a broader audience as well as to meaningfully contribute to a canonization of the method.[29]