Barbara Ellison: Mamori Sound Project, Amazon, Brazil

Acoustic synchrony

Barbara Ellison was selected to join the Mamori Sound Project in October 2011.This was a 2-week residency for conducting sound recording fieldwork which took place at Mamori Lake in the Brazilian Amazon organised by Francisco López. Francisco López, director of “Mamori Sound Project”, is internationally recognized as one of the major figures of the experimental music and sound art scene. He is also a PhD ecosystem biologist, with more than twenty years of teaching experience in Spain and Latin America.The residency was focused on creative approaches to working with with field recordings, through an extensive exploration of natural sound environments. Whilst there activities included intense Field trips (both diurnal and nocturnal) for extensive listening and recording of the sound environments.

Over 100 hours of recordings were made in the rainforest as well as underwater recordings with hydrophone. As part of Barbara’s PhD research project exploring the phenonemon of sonic emergence, the sound recording focus for her was centered on capturing collective displays of acoustic synchrony in nature that give rise to rich sonic emergent textures.

Synchronous interactions arise in various animal species that rhythmically broadcast acoustic, vibratory, and visual signals. These interactions are characterized by a coincidence in both rate and phase of the rhythms of neighbouring signalers. The phenonemon of acoustic synchrony can be understood as an emergent property, as an epiphenomenon of resultant timing patterns. Here the combination of multiple lower or local level processes (the individual calls) give rise to the higher level form (the chorus) The Amazon provided an incredible and priviledged opportunity  to listen to and record some of the best examples of acoustic synchrony in nature such as the chorousing of frogs and cicadas.

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