March 17, 2019

How can art exhibit the imposition of the technological on nature?

Alessio Wagner, 26

One of the biggest problems our civilisation faces is the environmental crisis, which is partly driven by society’s objectification of nature. However, we are very much connected to, and dependent on, the natural environment.

Recordings invoking nature and a human voice, alongside biologically-influenced algorithmic patterns, are embedded within this piece. They are juxtaposed with sound synthesis and the contortion of all sonic aspects using digital audio processing techniques. The juxtaposition and contortion of “artificial” sounds and sounds influenced more directly by natural processes, such as birdsong, act as a metaphor for the influence of the urban on nature. More specifically, the motif of birdsong in our daily lives is perpetually being subdued by the urban soundscape, due to an increasing number of people living in cities.

Having been inspired by this and an artist residency I am completing with the RSPB, the manipulated birdcalls in this piece are symbolic of birdsong’s subjugation by urban pollution in the environment.

This piece has also been informed by my current PhD research, which is partly exploring the aesthetic dimensions of contorted mimetic responses to biological patterns in systematic composition.

At a time when technology develops as fast as our natural environment is threatened, biologically-inspired artworks offer a vehicle for reflecting upon the relationships between the biological, cultural and technological worlds in which we live.