Grant #375

Vanishing Soundscapes

December 2, 2019

What’s That Chirping? Listen Carefully, The Natural Soundtrack Of Your Life Is Disappearing

When you’re outdoors, do you notice the “soundscape” as well as the landscape? Elitza Koeva can’t help listening, noticing the noises of traffic, construction, car radios blaring. But really, she’s searching for songs, trying to stay ahead of the disappearance of songbirds. Did you know that in the last 40 years, we’ve lost over half of the songbirds that used to be in the skies?

Elitza’s Vanishing Soundscapes projects use recorded bird song from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to engage people with the symphony of sound made by different species.

She wants people — especially urban dwellers — to be more intentional about being in their environment, to pause, immerse themselves in the sounds, reflect, and become more conscious.

Elitza plans to use this Awesome Without Borders grant to create online techno-birds, which she calls a “techno-transcendent species.” She intends to compose their birdsong as well as create their “hybrid cyber bodies.” We’ll be able to use the Vanishing Soundscapes app to interact with these creatures.

“We are not very consciously aware of the impact the loss of wild habitat and living organisms will have on our audio-sensorial environment,” says Elitza. “Every living organism creates an acoustic footprint that makes it unique and special. We are increasingly retreating from nature, surrounded by opaque concrete walls and polymer environments, isolated from the eco-symphony of nature.”

We’re looking forward to putting on our headphones and diving into Vanishing Soundscapes immersive acoustic experience of natural environments! (Also taking off the headphones and going to the park. We think Elitza would approve.)

Category: Art, Civic Engagement, Nature, Technology



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