Works in development
and Past works
interactive 'text-to-bird-speech' translator (prototype)
collaboration with Xavier Burrow
Access interactive prototype here: https://xavierburrow.com/myna/dist/
This is a preliminary sample of a new work that I hope to develop further. This prototype was built with coding assistance from Xavier Burrow. Technically, this work is mostly complete, however the final presentation (i.e. its GUI or Graphic User Interface) will be more stylised, immersive and interactive than the browser-based and visually-neutral form it currently has. This will require time spent collaborating with Xavier Burrow in order to update it to a finished and artistic state.
This is how the device was constructed: First, I recorded several hours of recordings of Common Myna birds calling throughout Naarm/Melbourne. I then combed through these recordings and manually isolated 44 uniquely individual ‘acoustic units’, each ranging usually between 0.25 to 0.35 seconds in length. I did this by ear and by eye (using a spectrogram) Most of these units are quite distinct from one another, with a few resembling each other a little more closely (e.g. e and ʊəʳ) although none are identical. This matches English, where many phonemes do closely resemble one another (e.g. v and f) I then arbitrarily paired each of these 44 Myna sounds with a corresponding English phoneme, using the International Phoneme Alphabet as a guide. With only 44 phonemes, English speakers are able to achieve an essentially limitless level of communication and meaning. This device allows you to input English text and output it as a stream of Myna calls; as stated in the project description, it does not presume to allow for meaningful conversation with the Common Myna, but instead it points to the inherent complexity of Common Myna speech by drawing parallels between the acoustic structure of their vocalisations and the phonemic construction of human language.
These two photos document part of my exhibition,
'A Fleshy-Rooted Perennial' (2021)
at Contemporary Art Tasmania.
This photo documents part of my solo show, 'Beast of Burden of Proof'
at Melbourne Knowledge Week in 2021
Gothic Pastoral IV (2020)
part of my essay/photographic exhibition Backyard Trinity (2020)
part of Next Wave Festivals' Online Group Exhibition, Assemble!
still image from video piece, 'Carried Over'
watch here: https://vimeo.com/298104822
This is a still from a previously exhibited video piece entitled ‘Carried Over’ This work involved devising novel hand gestures to be paired with the intricate vocalisations of the Common Myna. By transmuting individual sound elements into physical gestures, I hoped to reveal some of the structure and specificity inherent to each vocalisation. There would be no insight into exactly what was being communicated, instead, it would unravel some of the structural and rhythmic features of the communication itself.
This painting mimics the spectrographic data of local Common Myna bird vocalisations. The wood was foraged, and the resin used as paint was collected from Red Ironbark, a native eucalypt. The resin was shaped from a hard crystal to a viscous liquid through successive heating and re-heating with fuel foraged from neighborhood green waste.