three variations on a study for a data deficient species (grey ghost transmission) (Audio)
New Zealand-based radio artist Sally Ann McIntyre created three variations on a study for a data deficient species (grey ghost transmission) in 2017. The piece focuses on a New Zealand bird species, the South Island kōkako, which may or may not be extinct, no one knows for sure. The bird species was nicknamed the grey ghost for its hauntingly beautiful, mournful, slow, loud song. The only existing recordings of the kōkako, included in the piece, are fragmentary and elusive--more of an absence than a presence. McIntyre writes, “In these recordings, the bird hovers on the edge of audibility, refusing to be pinned down to monumental extinction narratives, just as it destabilizes...imperial ecology, by remaining outside Western scientific forms of knowing which rely on the verification of empirical evidence. The piece includes a musical score based on written documentation of the kōkako’s song as described in private letters and publications. This score is performed on piano, violin, clavichord and harpsichord. Another notable element of the piece is Maori musician Rob Thorne improvising on traditional instruments. He does a “call-and-response to a field recording I sent him of the ‘data deficient’ bird's endangered cousin, the North Island kōkako, which I made on the bird sanctuary Kapiti Island. My recording remains inaudible in the final piece, making Rob's haunting playing of the traditional instrument a space in which only the ghosts of the missing bird are left to respond.”
You can also hear recordings of natural radio played back through very unstable microcast transmitters and “flocks” of radios. three variations on a study for a data deficient species (grey ghost transmission) was commissioned by Radiophrenia, an annual pop-up radio station in Glasgow, Scotland. Read Sally Ann McIntyre’s more detailed description of the piece at http://radiocegeste.blogspot.com. - Introduced by Wave Farm Radio Artist Fellow 2019/2020, Karen Werner.