Diane Barbé - A conference of critters


Waeving together experimental music, biophonic research and activism, Diane Barbé searches for forms of interspecies resonance to explore chronobiology –understanding human and non-human animal entanglements through time manipulations. She is currently creating an ensemble of wind instruments, percussions, bird calls and little sound devices, called The Alien Kin, that are used for musicking in open air, with and beyond human audiences. Diane has been based in Berlin since 2015 and is engaged in many forms of collaborations with dancers, dreamers, whistlers, image-makers, performers, writers, and other kinds of creatures.

C40 — limited edition of 60
recorded, layered and photographed by diane barbé

mixed at the ina-grm studios in paris, dec 2021
mastered by mathieu bonnafous
design and additional words by pablo diserens

with vocal interventions by Huiying Ng and Ekaterine Makhatadze, Wilawan 'Wei' Wiangthong, Kamonlak 'Popo' Suckchai, Bussaraporn Thongchai, Célia Stroom, YunYoung Kim, Maria Kazvan, and Theeprachan 'Cine' Chaichana.
published by forms of minutiae — fom05 — 2022

“These pages are wrinkled, curled, soaked in the dense thick air for weeks; the lines of ink smudge a little. The words touch. Nights, storms, warm afternoons: all is said in the tale of terrestrial things. Up in a madan tree, a koel repeats its call, incessant, signalling something. A group of women is planting seeds, laying flowers in the water, hands in the soil. The critters confer; living together in a collective river, floating through the stream of extended time, connected like the organs of the same body. Microphone in hand, I am sheltered under a large banana leaf, witnessing the rain that touches all of us inhabitants of this forest. The critters confer; the water circles endlessly.” — Diane Barbé

After multiple non-human morphings, Diane Barbé comes back to her hominid-self to share a glimpse into Thailand’s rainforests and the acoustic expressions they foster. "a conference of critters" is a humid, drenched, gathering of biophonic and sylvan gestures cadenced by delicate human interventions. Here, the jungle pulses and hums. Thick stridulations guide us from the margins of the forest to its heart. Dwelling between soakings and crepuscular choruses, a multitude of earthlings sound the tropical ecologies. Monkeys, insects, frogs, birds, and humans intertwine under a resonating canopy. ‘The critters confer’ Barbé writes as she inevitably blends with the local fauna. Amid the strident ecoscape, perspectives oscillate — without warning animals (humans included) invade the foreground, momentarily dissolving the sonic tapestry before vanishing back into the greenery. These recollections transport us in a sonant bloom. A murmur rises, creatures stir, rain sizzles, leaves vibrate, the forest materializes.

All sounds heard and recorded in Nakhon Chai Si province and Khao Sok National Park, Thailand, April-May 2021. Some of the voices and moments were part of Enclosed Garden, an interdisciplinary art residency curated by the Heroines’Wave network.