“Bird language is key to understanding all other animal languages”

Be the first to favourite this.

Anne Cecilie Caroline Brunborg Lie was one of the two winners of last year’s Sound Walk September 2019, with her piece Entangled Formation, which uncovers the stories of non-human inhabitants in Prague. Here, Anne talks about her work.

Entangled Formations, a site-relational sound-walk, weaves together stories and movements from non-human inhabitants of Prague. It entangles local, migratory and visiting birds in a sonorous world that the audience can listen in on and delve into. Poetic reflections and facts on birds’ complex songs, lives and cognisance intermingle with extensive field recordings from Prague and talks with ornithologist Petr Voříšek from the Czech Society of Ornithology (CSO). 

Through the free geo-locative sound-app Locosonic, listeners can walk around as they please in the landscape of Stromovka Park and Holesoviche, an area stretching over one square kilometre. The listener activates the audio through their body movements, the app and the GPS on their phones. Their routes intermingle with the ones sonified, creating a non-linear narrative of past, present, and future. The body of the listener becomes a sonic vessel from which a story can unfold. 

The work encourages us to listen closely and relate more intimately to our immediate surroundings and to those we share our spaces and lives with. We are all part of an entangled network of different species and entities. An intricate, vast weave, including all living and non-living things. Sound as an omnipresent and physical, yet highly ephemeral phenomenon, is potent for representing this complex mesh that surrounds us, but that we do not always see or take into account. GPS and internet are ubiquitous phenomena as well, a completely integrated part of our ecology. Their patterns can look like the threads of neuro-patterns, but also like bird migration routes.

About the process

With a growing interest in ornithology, I wanted to work with birds for the Prague Quadrennial. We share a long history with these non-humans: through animal husbandry, as pets, from outside city windowsills to wilderness. Birds are everywhere in the world, like us. They have inspired us for centuries through arts, music, poetry, technological inventions, through literature, folktales, myths and more. 

We don’t know precisely how all migratory bird species navigate and know where to navigate to, but research suggests, for example, that European robins, might somehow see, hear or sense entangled particles, engulfed in what to us is utterly abstract: the quantum world. We already know many birds can see and/or hear magnetic waves, they navigate with sun and wind, through smell, and other senses.

Prague is a city rich with birdlife, in significant contrast to most other cities in the world, partly because of considerable political pressure and conservation efforts by the CSO. Throughout April, May and June Petr Voříšek from the CSO and I sonically mapped the birds of Prague and Stromovka Park in particular. Through mapping we found that in 2019 fewer migratory birds were actually arriving and there were numerous unexplainable deaths of birds in their nests, which can be read as signs that something bigger is up. 

Bird language is key to understanding all other animal languages, including our own. Flock behaviour and metacognition in birds are subject to a wide range of research including that of embryogenesis and even how to solve the environmental crisis through linking metacognition of the world’s top environmental scientists in a largescale computer program. Still, there is so much we don’t know about our non-human companions and yet, we are running out of time to understand them. 

Besides my own field recordings from spring 2019, the sound landscape of Entangled Formations includes recordings of birds threatened and/or going extinct in Prague and the Czech Republic that we could not find and record ourselves. These came from the website Xeno-Canto, which provides free to use recordings from bird enthusiasts collected from all over the world. Lastly, the walk included recordings of birds that might be here in the future. But the stark reality is that most likely there will be mostly silence.

The soundwalk Entangled Formations is always available for listening in Stromovka Park and Holesoviche through the free geo-locative app Locosonic. To experience the work as a whole, you would need about 4-5 hours, but you can walk as long as you please and choose your own trajectory.

Submit your work for Sound Walk September 2020

Perhaps you’re inspired, or you were already planning on taking over the world with your next sound walk. We’re now taking submissions for Sound Walk September 2020. New sound walks, created in 2020, are eligible, as well as any sound walk event, executed during September 2020.

More here.

Anne Cecilie Caroline Brunborg Lie

Through her work, Lie examines how to create in our current geological era proposed as the Anthropocene, with its accompanying philosophical and ethical questions, as well as for possible futures. She points out blind zones in social and built structures a...

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Also check out

Walking Piece
Entangled in the Mesh

Vitenparken Campus Ås

Ås, Norge

Post
New
This Friday and Saturday: create your own walking score

19 Sep, 2021

Join us on September 24 and 25, discussing the use, and abuse, of public space, and collaborative creating your own walking score.

Post
Submit your work for Sound Walk September 2021

23 Mar, 2021

You can now submit your work and events for Sound Walk September 2021. Participate in this huge network of walking artists and artist walkers.

Post
New
Introducing Sound Walk City · prelude

29 Jul, 2021

Together with Cona, we are both proud and pleased to introduce Sound Walk City · prelude, a festival of sound walks, performances and sound works, coinciding with Sound Walk September 2021.

Post
New
We’re hosting a two-day information-design course, so sign up now

5 Aug, 2021

You can get your hands 'dirty' in a workshop spread over two Saturday mornings in September, where you will learn how to design your own wayfinding system.

Post
New
Writing competition Shortlist announced

9 Sep, 2021

We are delighted to announce the shortlist of writing pieces in our inaugural writing competition on the theme of "Walking and Listening".

Post
Open call for partners: “Beat a situationist”

10 Jun, 2021

This is an open call for partner organisations to collaborate on a hybrid and collaborative workshop in September. Read on for details.

Post
Beat, to the dance

6 May, 2021

Ove Holmqvist is the creator of Holon.ist, a mobile app that synthesises sensory data, like movement, temperature and weather, converting it to sound and music.

Walking Piece SWS19
Entangled Formation

Prague Quadrenniale 2019

Stromovka, Prague 7-Bubeneč, Tsjekkia

Post
Open call for partners: Climate Sound Walk Award

24 Jun, 2021

We are looking for partners to establish a Climate Sound Walk Award; an extension of the existing Sound Walk September Awards.

Post
Get on our curated mailing list

11 Mar, 2021

Join our weekly curated mailing. We look back on the previous week, and ahead to the next.

Post
New
Help us help you; become a supporting member

19 Aug, 2021

With the objective of becoming sustainable, we ask you to support walk · listen · create, financially, by becoming a paying member. Help us to be able to continue our work, in connecting walking artists, and in reaching a broader public with your, our, work.