Commissions Exhibitions Wildlife

The Magic Voice

24 September 2013

Lyrebird orange outline light yellow for blog

*UPDATE: This was also selected for the Open 25 exhibition at New Walk Museum & Art Gallery, Leicester.

This piece was created for the University of Leicester’s School of Museum Studies ‘Museum Metamorphosis’ project and will be on display at the School of Museum Studies from 26 September 2013 until 10 February 2014. 

The Lyrebird, currently exhibited at New Walk Museum & Art Gallery in Leicester, was transformed through a series of drawings, scanned objects and watercolour to create a layered digital print. The final image ties the notion of metamorphosis with mimicry, using symmetry and mirroring; transforming the appearance of the bird and it’s environment using patterns created from its own courtship songs.

‘The Magic Voice’ focuses particularly on the recent discovery by Dr Anastasia Dalziell (Australian National University) on lyrebirds in the Dandenong Ranges and their 4-part coordinated song-dance courtship routine. The lyrebirds song range is complex; it is also one of the few birds that can dance whilst it sings- hence the different positioning of the birds feathers on the print. This work concentrates on the four dance moves and four calls during courtship; including sounds familiar to an 80’s video game, a ruler being twanged and a mixture of repetitive loud sharp short calls and buzzing sounds.

Through interpreting birdsong with drawings and sonogram software, I was able to visualise the pitch and volume of the sounds. The feathers and body have been exaggerated in colour and pattern with some birds taking on the visual form of their own song. The environment around the birds reflects its ability to mimic industrial and artificial sounds by replacing a forest with a cityscape of Leicester- filling the sky with the sound of the lyrebirds voice.

lyrebird cabinet

Lucy Stevens’ artistic practice examines the acoustic ecology of the natural environment, using field recording, digital illustration, performance and printmaking as a tool to visualise sound produced by wildlife, weather and other natural phenomena.

1 comment on “The Magic Voice

  1. makedospend

    This looks great Lucy, definitely going to visit 🙂

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