“Birding the Future” by Krista Caballero, Frank Ekeberg

  • ©, Krista Caballero and Frank Ekeberg, Birding the Future


    Birding the Future

Artist(s) and People Involved:



Artist Statement:

    Birds provide a unique window into the cultural and ecological entanglements of our time. Unrestricted by human-imposed borders, approximately five billion birds migrate yearly, linking cultures, countries, and ecologies, and revealing issues collectively shared. Declining bird populations in practically all habitat types signal profound changes over our entire planet. Birding the Future poses three questions in response to this crisis: What does it mean that we can only see and hear extinct species through technology? What might happen as the messages of birds are increasingly being silenced? How might we bridge knowledge systems using traditional and emerging technologies to develop a cross-cultural praxis for ecological futures rooted in kinship with the world?

    Birding the Future is an ongoing artwork that explores current extinction rates by focusing on the warning abilities of birds as bioindicators of environmental change. The installation invites visitors to listen to endangered and extinct bird calls and view visionary avian landscapes through stereographs and video.

    Calls of endangered birds are extracted to create Morse code messages based upon tales, stories, and poetry in which birds speak to humans. These are combined with calls of extinct birds, which act as a memory of the past and underscore technological reproduction as the only means to hear certain species. A real-time algorithm scales the extinction rate to the duration of the exhibition — the longer you stay the fewer birds you hear. The soundscape is paired with a series of stereographs, which explore the landscape of human-bird encounters via imagery, poetry, data and research. Video footage from the Goller Lab explores the ethics and technological impact of research conducted in a more-than-human world.

    To date there are five region-specific iterations of the project: Queensland Australia, Arabian Peninsula, Norway, Mid-Atlantic USA, RheinMain Germany and a series focused on laboratory birds.

    This installation will be shown at EINA Bosc, a new space form EINA University School of Design and Art of Barcelona that allows the centre’s educational programme to be expanded from a perspective of permanent innovation and creative dynamics. EINA Bosc houses workshops and versatile creative spaces open to non-disciplinary experimentation, digital and traditional graphic arts, sets for audiovisual practices and spaces to carry out exhibition and performance programmes, and has all the spatial, human and logistical support necessary to develop the school’s offer at all levels of training.

Other Information:

    June 10 to 16, EINA Bosc (EINA facility at the Carrer del Bosc. EINA is the University School of Design and Art of Barcelona).