Where the Wild Things Were, 2013

Eight-channel sound installation by Krista Dragomer and Bob Pritchard.

Inside a Yew tree, 8 speakers mounted to the branches played an aleatoric composition of recorded bird call sounds and cell phone tones. The installation utilized programing that allowed the sounds to respond to one another, resulting in an audio experience of birds and phones mimicking and duetting, often blending into one another. 

Installation view at the Southampton Center, 2013.

Installation view at the Southampton Center, 2013.

When birds imitate cellphone ringtones and mobile phone companies offer ringtones that sound like birds, what do the next generation of birds learn to sing? Is the ringtone version of a birdcall, sung by a mother bird, learned by her baby bird, natural? Man vs Nature, Natural vs Artificial ––such binaries do not hold true; we do not live (all of us, living) in one state or the other.  Where the Wild Things Were presents the environment of the present as a symbiosis of the technical and biological.

Click the play button to hear a stereo sample of the audio.

Burying the cables to complete the installation. Playback equipment was installed in an offsite trailer.

Burying the cables to complete the installation. Playback equipment was installed in an offsite trailer.