LASER Talks QLD-NSW: Bat Chatter and Frog Calls
Chaired by Elizabeth Stephens and Grayson Cooke
In this first QLD/NSW LASER talk for 2022, join us for talks from two remarkable researchers engaging with animal calls, care and climate.
This event will be held online only, on Zoom, 6pm AEST, Thursday May 26th. Register at the links above and below. You will be sent a Zoom link upon registration.
Machine Listening & Bat Chatter: Dropping in on conversations in the trees
Anyone who has been near a flying fox roost knows that flying foxes have a lot to say to each other. This often gets them into trouble with humans who don’t like to listen to them. Flying foxes are highly social and intelligent animals, as such it follows that they are good at communication. Alinta Krauth has been employing machine listening to drop in on conversations by endangered native Grey-Headed Flying Foxes, in the hopes that we may find more interest, rather than distain, in their voices. She has also taken the liberty of interpreting these vocalisations into human-perceptible concepts, based on known research into communication methods of this important keystone species. Using rigorous vocalisation classification and machine learning models, she has produced a publicly accessible tool for listening to and interpreting this ‘bat chatter’ in real time using the public’s own mobile devices. The question then becomes, how do we interpret what we know about flying fox vocalisations into themes that humans understand? Due to her history as a creative practitioner and writer, Alinta has chosen the approach of visualising bat chatter as disjointed, odd and animated poetry, speculating that if humans could understand flying fox voices, we would no doubt be listening to endless disjointed, yet beautiful, arguments about pups, personal space, and of course, fruit!
If a Frog Calls in the Forest...
Dave Newell's research utilises sound recording to monitor cryptic species on remote mountain tops in the Gondwana World Heritage rainforests of northern New South Wales. Using this approach he has captured thousands of hours of forest sound and developed an automated recognition system to sift through the data files looking for individual frog calls. The data provides a detailed assessment of the conditions under which these frogs call, which is a surrogate for breeding. The research includes the development of climatic models using Geographic Information Systems to predict the impacts of global warming on these species and identification of management acIons to conserve these unique animals.
Alinta Krauth is a multidisciplinary new media artist, and co-founder of EphemerLab interaction design studio. She is currently a researcher of interactive art and creative media at Queensland University of Technology. She is interested in viewpoints beyond the human, looking to other species as end-users, co-designers, or muses for her works. She uses sensor-based equipment and machine listening AI to find new ways of engaging with other species as the end-users of art artefacts, in ways that prioritise their enrichment or agency. Recent installations of her creative works have been seen in Art Laboratory Berlin, Berlin Germany, GentleMonster, Seoul South Korea, Home of the Arts (HOTA), Gold Coast Australia, White Night, Melbourne Australia, The Powerhouse, Sydney Australia, Gallery 3.14, Bergen Norway, and Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, Zurich Switzerland. https://www.alintakrauth.com/
David Newell is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Southern Cross University. His research focuses on the conservaIon and ecology of Australian rainforest frogs. Current projects include; climate change impacts on montane rainforest frogs, the ecology and physiology of the genus Philoria, the use of ecoacoustics for monitoring threatened fauna and understanding host responses to the amphibian chytrid fungus. https://researchportal.scu.edu.au/esploro/profile/david_newell/overview.
The Leonardo/ISAST LASERs are a program of international gatherings that bring artists, scientists, humanists and technologists together for informal presentations, performances and conversations with the wider public. The mission of the LASERs is to encourage contribution to the cultural environment of a region by fostering interdisciplinary dialogue and opportunities for community building to over 40 cities around the world. To learn more about how our LASER Hosts and to visit a LASER near you please visit our website. @lasertalks