Cultivamos Cultura Residency 2020

August 2020: BioData collection in Sao Luis, Portugal during a residency at Cultivamos Cultura

Bio-Sonification: 

The bio-sonification modules I build work by translating micro-fluctuations in conductivity (that have a duration between 1000th and 100,000th of a second.) to midi, giving me the ability to hear fungi, trees, lichen, and other nonhuman organisms. I set non-invasive electrodes onto trees/fungi to translate their biodata to midi and play this information back in realtime through analogue and/or digital synthesizers. Empirically, I have found mycelium, plants and trees react to the proximity of some people much differently than others. This is a phenomenon that I hope to better understand through having opportunities to gather larger data sets.

I believe every species has a language (if you will) of its own. Whether through body language/signals, eye movement, chemical, vibration or pattern, language is not always represented in word or through sounds the Human ear can perceive. My ultimate goal is to learn these other languages.

My collection of biodata from nature grows increasingly important to me, and perhaps even to the world. In 2019 while collecting biodata from Gum trees in Australia, along with the endangered Wollemi Pine, who would have known at the time that these magnificent trees would soon perish in horrific fires. Now, the only record remaining of this beautiful nature is through photographs and my biodata recordings. Similar might apply to the sacred Kauri trees of New Zealand. I was incredibly fortunate to meet with Maori rangers at the Arataki Visitors Centre, where they allowed me access to 100-year-old Kauri to record its biodata. The Kauri is now considered an endangered species due to parasitic fungi brought to New Zealand. 

I would like to collect biodata as well as 360, binaural field recordings from the trees, mosses, and lichens, and seaweeds I encounter towards creating a bio-sonification bank, like a seed bank. Generally, I collect biodata over several minutes to 24/48 hour intervals. During the recording, I also document nature through still photography, macro, and video.

Workshops in Bio-sonification/Nonhuman communication 

Experiential bio-sonification workshop

Participants will:

  • Learn the principles of bio-sonification
  • Through setting electrodes onto different plants/trees visitors experience different sounds coming from these organisms
  • Visitors can place electrodes onto each other, learn about conductivity
  • Visitors experience shared bio-sonification with friends/family 
  • Sound system is required with 3/4 inch jack adaptor 
  • Video projector with HDMI

Engagement:

  1. Keep a journal of my daily activity, biodata collected, and experiences. 
  2. Once I am within wifi range, I would upload my journal entries on my blog, and share across platforms via my Instagram accounts, to Twitter/Facebook.
  3. Upon completion of the residency aspect, I would post my field sketches/notes to my website
  4. Share some of the biodata translated to MIDI, and field recordings on my Podcast, Midnight Mushroom Music, creating a separate series similar to what I did with the biodata collected during my residency in Australia and New Zealand. 
  5. During my time with Cultivamos Cultura, I would like to share some of the biodata collected, translated to music for visitors to experience the nature around them in a different way.

While my initial proposal doesn’t directly speak of my Obvara research/work it is often researched alongside my bio-sonification work. I think it would be fascinating and fantastic to collect local yeast, sugars, grains and a local clay body(s) around São Luis to compare with the work I will be doing at the Zentrum für Keramik in Berlin (Sept/Oct)! The works will culminate in an installation including the biodata/bio-sonification work collected/made (Some of the ceramic forms I plan to turn into transducer speakers), along with a presentation at Muthesius University of Fine Arts and Design in Kiel.

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