Hylaea : Alcidae (2012/15) is a biological/protein music - digital cinema hybrid that seeks to reanimate the residues, record and archives of lost ecological memory in synchronization with the ecological state of the present. The work bridges the hemispheric phylogenomic connections of the Alcidae bird family between an iconic 19th century extinction (the Great Auk) from coastal Canadian Atlantic and Icelandic regions to its’ vulnerable genomic relations (the Marbled Murrelet) from the present day Pacific Northwest /US West Coast. Part ecological ghost story/part biocultural bibliography, this project stems from a desire to partially awaken the resting memories of lost life forms from the extinct species cabinets and the historical object archives of the museum and realign these memories into relevance with the present tense state of ecological memory.
As a work of performative “life” cinema Hylaea : Alcidae brings together visual and sonic bits of the lost and endangered coastal ecologies of the Alcidae family as an immersive digital cinematic experience. Through interactions with electro- acoustic instrumental interfaces and voice responsive software, the cinematic space of the performance is spatially painted from the visual textures and sonic translations of lost & endangered species, their environments and their molecular residues. The interplay of sound layers in the work come from audio composed from sonifications of Great Auk DNA and their Alcidae family survivors, in mix with data streams from maritime weather data from coastal Atlantic Canada, Iceland and the coastal Pacific California. The resulting immersive media experience hopes to reunite the lost residues of missing lifeforms with those endangered across the northern hemisphere. The hope of this project is that audience engagement will yield a vision and recollection of the complex imagined distance when ecological memory becomes lost to the circumstance of extinction.
Field research, video and audio recording for this work was conducted in the lost habitats and nesting grounds of the Great Auk in coastal Iceland and Newfoundland as well as the endangered Alcidae habitats in the Coastal Redwoods of Northern California.
Recent project venues for this work:
2015 Faculty Triennial, University of Denver, Myhren Gallery, Denver, CO
“Hylaea:Alcidae”, Currents 2012, 3rd Santa Fe International New Media Festival, Museo Cultural, Santa Fe, NM