#Install3: Installations: Muybridge 1 and Museum of Forbidden Technologies
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, United States of America
We -- a composer and an animation artist -- would like to propose an installation to be run throughout the conference.
Birding the Future
1Bard College, United States of America; 2Independent Artist
Birding the Futureis an artwork that explores current extinction rates by specifically focusing on the warning abilities of birds as bioindicators of environmental change. The installation invites visitors to listen to endangered and extinct bird calls and to view visionary avian landscapes through stereographs, sculpture, and video.
Birds provide a unique window into the entanglements of our time. Unrestricted by human-imposed borders, approximately 5 billion birds migrate every year thereby linking cultures, countries, and ecologies and revealing issues collectively shared. It is also estimated that a third of all bird species will have disappeared by the end of this century. Declining bird populations in practically all habitat types signal profound changes over our entire planet, changes that affect our ecologically-bound cultural identities. Birding the Future poses three questions in response to this crisis: What does it mean that we can only see and hear extinct species through technology? What might happen as the messages of birds are increasingly being silenced? How can traditional ecological knowledge be combined with technological advances to surpass what any one way of knowing can offer?
Calls of endangered birds are extracted to create Morse code messages based upon tales, stories, and poetry in which birds speak to humans. These messages are combined with unmodified calls of extinct birds, which act as a memory of the past and underscore technological reproduction as the only means to hear certain species. Using a real-time control algorithm (Pd) the projected extinction rate is scaled to the duration of the exhibition by decreasing the density and diversity of bird calls.
A series of stereographs offer a loose narration through the soundscape. Popular from the mid-nineteenth century through the early twentieth century, the stereoscope has been chosen as the viewing instrument for its potential to heighten perceptual awareness and provide a historical link to human impact on the environment. The viewer’s gaze wanders back and forth between foreground and background, and by doing so continuously shifts one’s point of view within the frame. In this way the stereograph plays with the act of looking and the viewer is challenged to consider how the filters through which one looks then translate into ways knowledge is constructed. Composite photographs of real and imagined environments connect regional issues with a global perspective. On the back, textual analysis explores the complexities of our more-than-human world via poetry, data and other relevant habitat and behavioral information. To date there are six series: Queensland Australia, Arabian Peninsula, Norway, Mid-Atlantic USA, Frankfurt, and a series focused on laboratory birds.
For ACH 2019 we propose an interactive day-long installation that will include stereographs from each series and the sound installation described above. Birding the Future is highly adaptable and has been installed nationally and internationally in multiple types of configurations based upon particularities of the site. Artists will supply technical equipment and work with conference organizers to determine location.
To view artwork, please visit: https://www.birdingthefuture.net
Dependent upon space and interest, the following video could also be installed: https://vimeo.com/238204874