VOICES – Embodied Knowledge of Place

by Maiken Vibe Bauer

(55 min, 4-channels, loop)

VOICES is a site-specific sound installation and radical space for collective listening, based on the 119 different and often unnoticed bird species belonging to the shared urban landscape of Islands Brygge, Copenhagen. 

VOICES invites participants to a dawn listening session contrasting the bustling harbour front of Islands Brygge, giving space and time to the singular voices of the birds.

Set against the backdrop of four early mornings, synchronizing with the dawn chorus, VOICES deliberately unfolds on the birds’ terms. This temporal alignment is an effort to invert our habitual listening dynamics, providing a platform for these non-human voices to articulate themselves unhurriedly.

Extended over 55 minutes the installation invites participants to immerse themselves in a contemplative environment, dedicating their attention and awareness and time to the nuanced voices of our non-human companions. Conceived as a parliament of diverse voices, the piece encourages the discernment of each bird’s individual expression played out in order of appearance—whether verbal or non-verbal. It delves into the subtleties of timbre, rhythm, and the distinct sonic language inherent in each creature. 

In crafting VOICES, my process intentionally diverged from the prevalent human-centric auditory landscape. In a culture where we are increasingly taught to talk and make ourselves heard, listening becomes a radical act. This sound installation is conceived as a radical space for collective listening, opening up a space for attentiveness, reflecting on listening together as an act of care and how vibrant relations connect us to place.

Special thanks to Nikolaj Noel Christensen for expertise in identifying the 119 bird species, contributing to the VOICES project.

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