Hylaea1 | live cinema performance | Timothy Weaver (2008)

Hylaea is a series of emergent new media works that examine the language, mediation and possible restoration of lost ecological memory. The series title Hylaea refers to the mythical and now lost forests of ancient Greece and also to the first explorations of the virgin neo-tropical forests of the Americas. The intent of this project is to collectively bring together disparate artifacts of lost ecological memory such as the deep colors and textures of extinct birds wings, sonic translations of the DNA and proteins of missing species and the ambient environmental sounds and images of lost habitat to create an immersive interactive sensory experience for audience participants. My hope is that such an immersive experience may re-mediate lost ecological memory as a means of facilitating a discourse into our present tense state of ecological consciousness in a time of cascading extinctions.

“Hylaea1” is an iterative live cinema performance of a digital video, bioacoustic and proteomic music hybrid whose platform is based on the sonic mixing of the genotypic sources and phenotypic expressions that become intertwined in the exchange between human psychogeography and ecological retreat and encroachment.

The ambient soundings of the work are based on bioacoustic field recordings from the occidental clouds forests of the Ecuadorian Andes and Manu Biosphere Reserve of the Peruvian Amazon; two mega diverse areas that are being simultaneously challenged by human-induced deforestation, and ecosystem instability linked to global climate change and the decline of the Andean tropical glaciers that feed these bioregions. The phenotypic aural expressions in this work are characteristic of territoriality, navigation and survival messages that hang in the balance in Manu’s neotropical ecosystems and Mindo’s high altitude cloud forests.

Oscillating, interrupting and mixing with this bioacoustic ambient are the human genotypic and proteomic origins of the work. These sonic translations are derived from the human locative proteins cryptochrome 1 and 2 that are the biomolecular roots of human psychogeographic mappings, remappings, explorations, settlement and ecological encroachment that have persisted through human history. In the translation of protein sequence to audio equivalents, attention was given to the affinity that the molecules have for water - the crucial resource that also brings uniqueness and survival to the neotropical ecologies.

In the live cinema performance, these sonic elements become interactive with the video field recordings, time lapse/animations of climatic documentations, and human migrations/movements have been shot in the Manu, Mindo and Andean bioregions. As a speculative vision in this live cinema version I have interlaced VR representations of the biological agents which induce ecological/systemic invasiveness and precede/accompany human colonization. The resulting work is a speculative multimedia narrative that bends the genotypic and phenotypic expressions of these intersecting species across multiple data scales to re-mediate the essential ties that all organisms have to navigation, habitat, vulnerability and survival.

“Hylaea1” is an exemplary work of a creative investigation that brings the experimental hybridization of live cinema and performative bioinformatics into the form of “life cinema.” This subgenre of new media/digital cinematic performance builds upon the open-ended multimedia output of live cinema and the bending of biological computing, artificial life, ecological modeling and biomimicry to deliver speculative new media forms of ecological memory.

Timothy Weaver Bio:
Timothy Weaver is a new media artist and former life scientist whose concerted objective has been to contribute to the restoration of ecological memory through a process of speculative inquiry along the art | technology interface. Timothy’s recent live cinema, video and sound-art projects have been featured at FILE Hipersonica (Brazil), Transmediale (Berlin), SubtleTechnologies Festival (Toronto), New Forms Festival (Vancouver), Korean Experimental Art Festival, Boston CyberArts, SIGGRAPH, and the New York Digital Salon.

Weaver is currently Assistant Professor of eMAD and Director of the Digital Media Studies Graduate Program at the University of Denver (Colorado, USA).

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