Pent Stream is an audio-visual representation of live and latest river level data measured by a flood monitoring station on the Pent stream at Black Bull Road in Foord, Folkestone, and sourced from the Environment Agency’s real-time data API feed.
Programmed in Pure Data (Pd), Pent Stream uses the most recent river level (updated every 15 minutes) to begin a sequence of electronic tones, followed by the high, low and mean river levels recorded the previous day. Each measurement (in metres) is converted into a musical pitch for each tone, at a scale of 0.1m per octave beginning on the note C3.
The sequence has been visualised (using GEM in Pd) as a simple graph, with each reading along the x axis, colour-coded and rising to the corresponding river level (or pitch) along the y axis. Current river level is indicated by the yellow bar, while the blue, red and green bars represent the low, high and mean levels respectively. For reference, the graph includes white lines at 0, 0.5 and 1m increments and also displays the highest recorded (0.77m, magenta) and typical low levels (0.08m, cyan).
Another iteration of Pent Stream (Long-term) cycles through all of the daily records captured at the site (since 2016). Each measurement of high, low and mean levels are again converted using the formula above and, in this case, sounded simultaneously creating a three-tone chord. This sound, set against a constant tone representing 0 metres, provides an indication of water level events over the available period.
Listen to Pent Stream LIVE – broadcasting intermittently from 22nd July to 1st August, 11am – 5pm BST.