Future Earth Scream Now - The Solresol Birdsong Translator
In this exposition, we describe a ‘speculative fabulation’ on communication with birds. A device was built that ‘listens’ to birdsong and translates this into human speech utilising the obscure musical language Solresol (François Sudre, 1866). Birdsong is analysed and converted into musical notes (one octave in the scale of C Major: do-re-me-fa-sol-la-ti). These seven notes are grouped to form four-note ‘words’ that are looked-up in the Solresol-English dictionary. Each note also has a rainbow colour assigned to it. In a variety of configurations, the device can output the birdsong, notes, music, translated words, and colours. Text and MIDI (music) files can both be saved for further output or processing. The software can run in a variety of modes and on a variety of hardware, including PC and Raspberry Pi. It can make use of both live and recorded birdsong. The device and software are described, as well as several examples of its outputs, such as ‘auto-poetry’ and music. The presentation of the work and modes of engagement are described. The contextual significance is discussed in relation to claims about the practice as artistic research.