Ecoustics is a sound art work that explores how anthropogenic sounds may
overpower natural sounds, but not displace them. The natural sounds remain, if we know how
to listen for them. And when heard, natural sounds are quite inspiring.
The Wrong Digital Art Biennale
Juried exhibition, international
Centre del Carme Cultura Contemporènia, Valencia, Spain
and 20+ other art institutions in or around Valencia
1 Nov. 2019-1 Mar. 2020
Epicentre is the main showcase of the 2019 edition of The Wrong Digital Art Biennale, a global art and media project to nurture contemporary digital culture. The Wrong Biennale consists of multiple parts, distributed globally, ranging from gallery shows and exhibitions to more DIY gatherings. One part is exhibitions and/or projects hosted on the wrong routers, limited edition bespoke routers providing digital content within range of their built in Wi-Fi range, without connection to the Internet. Epicentre is an offline group show of selected projects participating globally in The Wrong Biennale and hosted exclusively on wrong routers.
I created and submitted Ecoustics in response to an international open call for sound works for a juried exhibition associated with the 2018 Ecoacoustic Congress, in Brisbane, Australia. The work has been exhibited since then. A concept I had in mind while creating Ecoustics was a multivalent cinematic Earth dream time interrupted by sounds of human activity. These anthropogenic sounds could overpower but not displace the sounds of Earth. The natural sounds remain, if we know how to listen for them. And when heard, these natural sounds are quite inspiring. In this sense, Ecoustics expresses itself through sound(s) rather than being explained through text.
Object: Sound art
Format: Audio file
Bit Rate: 356kbs
Creator: John F. Barber
The news speaks daily to climate crises and its growing threat(s) to human existence. Little is said of the effects climate crises will have on the Earth itself, as an ecology of interrelated biomes and natural, interrelated processes. Ecoustics considers sound(s) as telling the state of the earth, and its relationships with all life forms it supports. Ecoustics is a sound art work exploring how anthropogenic sounds may overpower natural sounds, but not displace them. Ecoustics opens, as a door, to the outside world. A river flows through a woodland. Birds call, as do wolves. A rattlesnake is startled in the foreground. Scrub Jays scold from the sides of the sound stage. In the distance, a woodpecker is heard. A moose walks through water, which, splashing, transitions into a thunderstorm, and its rumbling into a idling engine. A ferry whistle signals the start of an arcade sound collage. These anthropogenic sounds drown out the natural sounds, but only temporarily. The sound of the river, now more distant, returns, along with wind in tall grass. A flock of geese pass overhead. Then, at first faintly but slowing becoming more pronounced, sounds of electromagnetic radiation, surrounding us as invisible broadcasts of ambient music. The natural sounds remain, if we know how to listen for them. And when heard, these natural sounds are quite inspiring.
On the other hand, Ecoustics is excerpted from a many-stranded cinematic Earth dream time interrupted by sounds of human activity. Ecoustics expresses itself rather than being explained by this written detail. Ecoustics presents itself like an ephemeral dream, which, in the end, takes over, takes hold, immersing the listener.