Kathy Hinde Audio-Visual Artist — Inspired by behaviours and phenomena found in nature and the everyday — working with sound, light, image, sculpture, location.

Twittering Machines

Humankind maintains an ongoing fascination with attempts to decipher, understand and categorise birdsong and animal communication. Twittering Machines invites us to ponder upon these fascinations, and plays with birdsong imitation, translation, message sending, encryption, interference, miscommunications, and mappings. Language and vocalisations can express metaphors through poetry and abstractions through music and song. A dansette record player spins a vinyl recording of John Keat’s ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ translated into Morse Code. Software listens in, live, and translates the code back into text. Extraneous sounds in the room can be detected by the software which interfere with the translation, interrupting the Keats poem. A Bavarian bird imitator cheerfully whistles the songs of local birds amongst the hum of radios intermittently receiving signals from each other and the surrounding chirping objects. Twittering Machines starts as a live sonic art performance and evolves into an installation created from remnants and artefacts used in the performance.

Twittering Machines was first commissioned for the Fort Gatehouse at Chatham docks for TÖNE Festival of light and sound 2014. Details of this site responsive edition are here. A new version of Twittering Machines was developed on a 2018 Cryptic winter residency at Cove Park, Scotland and then exhibited at OVADA Gallery for Audiograft Festival with a live performance at the Launch event on 6th March 2018. Software programmed by Matthew Olden.  Video of performance below, with live sound engineered and recorded by Tim Hand, followed by photos of installation.

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