Tipping Points

Authors: Seddon, A.

Place of Publication: Bournemouth Natural Sciences Society, Bournemouth, UK


Tipping Points is a sound installation that emulates the stable and chaotic behaviours of environmental ecosystems. It features sounds from field recordings made in Dorset, which are manipulated by the computer to mirror the ways in which ecosystem population densities vary, increasing and decreasing in both predictable and erratic ways.

The ‘population’ is represented by the fragments of pitched sound taken from a seagull cry. These short sounds can be heard over the sea and forest recordings; as the population increases, more fragments of the bird sounds are heard; as the population decreases, fewer bird fragments are heard. Erratic and chaotic changes in population become more and more apparent as time goes on, emulating the kinds of environmental extremes often occurring in nature.

Participants are invited to interact with this ecosystem, affecting changes by moving close to the electronic sensors mounted within the room.

How it works:

• Tipping Points ‘sonifies’ the gradual expansion in population density through a simple feedback equation • As the population density progresses past certain points, more erratic changes begin to occur • The system potentially progresses to a state of chaos

The sound material: • Bird calls • Ambiences from Dorset e.g. Arne nature reserve; Brownsea Island


Source: Manual