Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Medienwissenschaft

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Institut für Musik­wissen­schaft und Medien­wissen­schaft | Medienwissenschaft |  ↳ Medientheorien | Kolloquium | Santiago Renteria Aguilar: The Aesthetics of Machine Listening - Reanimating Sonic Ecologies (Vortrag)

Santiago Renteria Aguilar: The Aesthetics of Machine Listening - Reanimating Sonic Ecologies (Vortrag)

  • Wann 01.02.2023 von 18:00 bis 20:00
  • Wo Medientheater, Raum 0.01, Georgenstraße 47, 10117 Berlin Online via Zoom
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Tracing the production and transmission of animal sounds has long been used for scientific purposes in the field of Bioacoustics. It allows us to better understand the behaviour and welfare of animal populations with listening technologies such as microphones and recorders. Increasingly, listening is being automated with novel computational technologies in what has been called Machine Listening. Despite being prevalent in music informatics, such as in auditory source separation and interactive music systems, their scientific use in digital ecology and environmental sound art remains understudied. In response, I scrutinise the artifactuality of Machine Listening from within and expose how it provides a portal to the vocal cultures of non-human others.

The aesthetic opportunities of reanimating bioacoustic archives are explored through an experimental practice with The Fluid Corpus Manipulation toolkit, a set of bespoke software modules designed to compose music with machine listening instruments. As a source material I use a Western Australian Magpie digital sound archive collected by behavioural ecologists for the study of avian vocal learning.

Overall, I aim to illuminate the operation of Machine Listening beyond the myth of artificial intelligence and reflect upon its aesthetic potential in musicking with the voice of non-human life.


Sergio Santiago Rentería Aguilar's research is concerned with how Machine Listening has shaped the sonic (re)production of birds in arts and sciences. He is a recipient of the PhD studentship, awarded under the Australian Research Council Discovery Project »A Cultural and Intellectual History of Automated Labour« During his masters he developed a Shazam for birdsong based on a machine learning technique capable of recognizing birds' complex melodic sequences. He has showcased his work at multiple venues including SymbioticA, RMIT University, in Australia, and Laboratorio de Arte Alameda, Centro Cultural Universitario Tlatelolco, Carnaval de Bahidorá and Tecnológico de Monterrey, in Mexico.