Jerwood Open Forest Commission

Semiconductor unveil their first ever public sculpture at a carefully selected site at Alice Holt Forest in Surrey. The spherical piece is based on one year’s worth of measurements of the take up and loss of carbon dioxide from the forest trees collected from the top of a 28m high flux tower, located nearby in the research forest at Alice Holt. Their work considers scientific data as a means of understanding the environment, and explores the relationship between how science represents the physical world and how we experience it. Through a process of re-contextualising the data, it becomes abstract in form and meaning, talking on sculptural properties. The work will be open to the public for years to come.

Problematic Data Formats

The measurement data was stored an old file format called SLT, ancient in software terms, and the only application capable of reading the data was an old pirce of 16bit MSDOS software called EDISOL

Extracting the Data

Finetuned's programmatic explorations into the SLT file headers did not prove particularly fruitful and given the nature of the project, we decided that automation, rather than writing a new file parser was the most expedient  and economical way to proceed.

We built an automator to retrieve the data from the old software using a combination of the open source DOSBox, an x86 emulator with builtin DOS, to run EDISOL and an automation and scripting language to automate the export process from the parent operating system.


"We’ve roped in our programmer friend Julian Weaver (Finetuned) to write some code to transform all the data into a format that is useable to us: of course he came up with an elegant solution. We’ve had a dedicated computer humming away all day and night for five days and it has done it: now we can really start to see what patterns there are inherent in the data, very exciting." - Semiconductor