States of Gun Violence

What if gun violence in the United States could be heard through one listening stream? Gathering data from Slate Magazine’s @gundeaths twitter account, a feed that tweets every gun death since the Newtown Massacre, this project explores the impact of auditory information.

Over a three hour listening period the audio was triggered six times, creating a conversational pause amongst the listeners, as they acknowledged a loss of life. The sound was always the same, but there was an understanding that each time it signified a different incident. On a screen in the program terminal, the victim stats (age and gender) and the state where the gun homicide occurred are printed. In order to connect the influence of state legislation on isolated homicides, this project displays the gun laws of the state where the shooting occurred.

The Data
Since December 14th, 2012, the day of the Newtown Massacre, Slate Magazine has been running the twitter feed, @Gundeaths, tweeting data on every news reported homicide victim in the United States. The data for this project data is pushed from this feed.

Sound Research
To collect the audio sample played in this project, I visited the local police station; signed a liability waiver and recorded ballistics audio from an official target practice in the gun range. While this detail does not change the experience of the project for the listener, it was important for me to observe a target practice and be in the same sound space as the firing gun. I chose to visit a police station as opposed to a firing range because I was particularly interested in the dichotomy between legal vs. illegal firing. This experience also allowed me to have multiple impromptu interviews with police officers about their views on gun violence and their own personal relationship to guns.