NetSon - Network Sonification

NetSon is a prototype perceptual monitoring tool that uses sound and moving image to present features of an organization’s network metadata in sound and moving image. Its pragmatic use is to assist people to peripherally monitor the activity the individual parts of a network – the ways in which they converge and interact – or of the network as a whole system. This can help them understand the operational characteristics of the network in real time and while engaged in other tasks.

NetSon can be used to monitor and display an organization’s network in a number of configurations: as an IT operational support tool, as a multichannel installation in a building’s foyer, or as a streaming audiovisual webcast (in explicit or data-protected versions) from an organization’s web- or intranet-site. The techniques used are equally applicable to other ‘big data’ monitoring and exploration challenges.


NetSon began its development in 2004 for an Art and Technology project at Fraunhofer IIS entitled Polymedia Installation »Corpo Real«. The metaphor is of a corporation as a living organism as revealed through sonified aspects of its communal activity in temporal interior (private) and exterior (public) representations. The title is a play on the idea of revealing the (corpor)ation’s corporeal (bodily) existence through the connective neural ‘tissue’ of its digital networks.