8 channel audio/sculpture installationBob Pritchard and Krista Dragomer Opening, Nov. 1, 2014Babycastles Gallery + Interspace, Manhatten, NY
Re-wilding the Syrinx employs bird sounds and cell phone sounds in an eight-channel installation, although in this work the cell sounds include the pings and buzzes from cell towers and other sounds of digital interference. The human-built environment and its exigencies has an effect on all life on this shared planet. We try to imagine, empathize and quantify the way life changes as a result of the way we humans fill the night sky with light, fill in a wetland with soil and debris, or fill the air with pulsating sound. Logically we must know that anything that sees, that drinks, that navigates sonically must now do it differently, but it becomes abstract when it falls outside our human sensorium, when our own senses have recalibrated darkness and silence, to see and hear it when it isn’t really there. Re-wilding the Syrinx amplifies the acoustics of frequencies that fall to the background, that buzz in the cells of bodies caught in the thick digital air.
This video clip shows how the flocking algorithm operates in this installation. The viewpoint is that of looking at the installation from directly above, and each of the circles represents a channel of bird sound. When a listener enters the installation a camera tracks his/her movements. Certain movements can startle the "sonic birds" that are tweeting from inside the birdhouses. When this occurs, the "birds" begin flocking together, flying around the sonic space, and the listener standing in the middle of the installation will hear the sounds moving around the space. The "birds" eventually settle down and return to their original locations in the birdhouses.