This episode of the Fermynwoods Contemporary Art Podcast features Salvaging Birds, an original sonic essay by Maya Livio and JP Merz, followed by a discussion with Maya Livio.
Through the use of what Maya calls expanded nonfiction, she constructs a haunting and lyrical sonic essay containing a chorus of both human and non-human voices. The work draws attention to the biases and misclassifications within avian conservation datasets.
Here she has set a research-driven essay against sounds generated by an AI which was trained on specific datasets, particularly ones from the Cornell Library of Ornithology’s Macaulay Library – the world’s largest and oldest scientific archive of wildlife recordings. By using machine learning to speculatively queer birdsong datasets, the work complicates datafied approaches to conserving what and who is left of our world.
A transcript of this episode is available here.
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The following video is a response to this episode, by artist Sapphire Goss:
Maya Livio is a researcher, media-maker, writer, and curator living in California. Her justice-oriented, interdisciplinary work probes at the contact zones between ecosystems and technological systems, investigating multispecies living and dying on a networked planet.
For Xylophobia our guest curators for the Fermynwoods Podcast are Marie-Chantal Hamrock and Astrid Björklund. Marie and Astrid have previously collaborated as SUBTERRA for Aerial Community Radio in Aberdeen, which “navigates speculative narratives of the chthonic (of relating to or inhabiting the underworld) through text, poetry, soundscapes and music.” The two bring their own flavour to a new series of 10 Xylophobia-themed Podcast episodes.
Sapphire Goss is a multimedia artist who uses obsolete technologies to explore experimental materiality and hybrid collaborative forms to make work that grows, decays and lives beyond the screen. Sapphire responds to each Xylophobia podcast episode with a new video.