Performance | Installation | 2018 - 2019

Sound in urban environment is ubiquitous, from speech utterance, traffic & industrial noises, to machines communicating with each other. Although it seems we live in a bubble our lives are intrinsically entangled with nature. In 1866 the German biologist and naturalist Ernst Haeckel coined the term ecology to describe the infinite intricate interactions between organisms and their environment. However, dire research papers predict that only 154 years after, we are about to lose 2/3 of the wild habitat.
We are bombarded by information about endangered species and how their loss will affect the existing ecology. Nevertheless, we are not very consciously aware of the impact this loss will have on our audio-sensorial environment. Ecology comes with its inherent soundscapes, namely: geophony - non-biological sounds and biophony - every living organism creates an acoustic footprint that makes it unique and special.

Moreover, we are increasingly retreating from nature, surrounded by opaque concrete walls and polymer environments, isolated from the eco-symphony of nature. Vanishing soundscapes addresses precisely this gap, by creating immersive acoustic experience of natural environments, amplifying the sounds we are about to lose or are already long muted.

I have obtained the sound data from Cornell Lab of Ornithology of the 48 different bird species in the vicinities of Harvard Yard. I have composed a soundscape for each bird and designed a set of playing cards. Vanishing soundscapes is an acoustic performance, where people are asked to select a card, scan it through the app on their cell phones and play the audio file. By using John Cage’s chance operations a random soundscape is generated. This project enables the urbanites to enter into dialogue with their environment by creating a meditative site, where one can pause, immerse, reflect and become more conscious.

Four channel sound installation at Harvard Arts First Festival Harvard Yard (Cambridge) May 3 - May 5 2019.

With thanks to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Spyridon Ampanavos.

App developed by: Spyridon Ampanavos