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Installation: ‘Visual Bird Sounds’ by Andy Thomas, L.E.V. Festival brings digital fauna & flora to remote landscapes of Mieres, Spain

Text by CLOT Magazine

Pozu Santa Bárbara, located in the North of Spain at La  Rebaldana, Turón, in the Council of Mieres, is the first Asturian mine shaft declared a protected heritage of the first order. In September 2021, refurbishment works started to turn the mine shaft into a reference site for contemporary art interventions, and the Center opened its doors. Since then, they have showcased the solid light works by artist Anthony McCall, Voladuras controladas by artist Herminio and Innerlight by artist Regine Schumann. 

Between December 5 and January 28, 2024, the Center hosts Andy Thomas’ Visual Bird Sounds, an audiovisual installation curated by L.E.V. festival, with a heavy dose of environmental criticism, in which the Australian artist showcases his sound life forms. Andy Thomas’s images of fauna and flora make a strong statement about technology’s impact on planet Earth and how societal advancements affect the natural systems of life. 

People al L.E.V. shared with us that during the last decade, Andy Thomas has been taking long expeditions through some of the oldest rainforests in the world, and this installation shows the result of his fieldwork at the Amazon, Finland, Australia, and New Zealand. For Visual Bird Sounds, Thomas will showcase newly created pieces based on birdsongs from the Protected Area of the Mining Areas of Asturias, declared as a Protected Landscape and Special Area of Conservation. The pieces are created by interpreting generative algorithms of motion graphics of the sound recordings and pictures of birds. 

This way, the singing of canaries comes back to the mine shaft. These birds had saved many miners’ lives as they could detect the inflammable firedamp before a tragedy occurred. The installation transforms history in light surrounded by sound as a  tribute to the birds’ singing. Our territory is currently in the middle of a transformation process,  and this initiative is a clear example of this, says Councilor Rocío Antela. 

The installation is open until January 28, 2024, at  Pozu Santa Bárbara, La Rebaldana (Mieres, Asturias, Spain). 

(Media courtesy of L.E.V. festival)
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