MACHINE AUGURIES

Visitors are confronted by a new rendition of the dawn chorus, created using AI-generated birdsong to draw attention to the impact of human activity on avian populations.

Artist Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg has worked with a team of experts to design this immersive sound and light installation. Employing the same technology used to create deepfakes, she was able to imitate songbirds and produce an artificial dawn chorus. The project’s aim is to highlight how growing urban areas are preventing birds from performing their daily territorial and mating rituals, therefore gravely threatening populations. “Birds are pivotal to the way our environment works,” said Ginsberg. “So without them, we're in trouble.” Machine Auguries is on show as part of the 24/7 exhibition at Somerset House until February 23, 2020.

Read more on The Journal.
ABOUT ALEXANDRA DAISY GINSBERG

Dr Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg is an artist examining our fraught relationships with nature and technology. Through subjects as diverse as artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, conservation, and evolution, her work explores the human impulse to "better" the world. Daisy spent over ten years experimentally engaging with the field of synthetic biology, developing new roles for artists and designers. She is lead author of Synthetic Aesthetics: Investigating Synthetic Biology’s Designs on Nature (MIT Press, 2014), and in 2017 completed her PhD, Better, at London’s Royal College of Art, interrogating how powerful dreams of “better” futures shape what gets designed.

ABOUT SOMERSET HOUSE

Somerset House is London’s working arts centre built on historic foundations around one of the most beautiful courtyards in Europe.

Situated at the very heart of the capital, we are home to the UK’s largest and most exciting creative community and are overflowing with new ideas, young businesses and fresh perspectives.

PRODUCTION CREDITS

Machine learning: Dr Przemek Witaszczyk (Faculty).

Sound design: Chris Timpson (Aurelia Soundworks).

Research and design: Dr Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, Johanna Just, Ness Lafoy, Ana Maria Nicolaescu.

Birdsong consultant: Chris Watson.

Birdsong recordings: Chris Watson, Geoff Sample, The British Library, Sara Keen, Xeno-canto.

With thanks: Professor Ben Sheldon, Maria Diaz and Dr John Mansir of Faculty. Production: Angharad Cooper, Karishma Rafferty. 

Lighting: Lucy Carter, Sean Gleason AV: KSO.

Machine Auguries was commissioned by Somerset House and A/D/O by MINI. With additional support from Faculty and The Adonyeva Foundation.