Paleoscapes – Borneo-2023 - David MONACCHI

Presented during the IRCAM Forum Workshop 2023 In Paris

Tropical rainforest host the highest species richness of any other biome on Earth. Within this megadiverse community, equatorial lowland forests that have remained primary (untouched historically and currently undisturbed) have been selected as target areas to investigate the paleo-choirs of ecosystems. Fragments of Extinction is an interdisciplinary long-term project which from 1998 is recording and revealing ecoacoustic data collected in the remaining areas of intact equatorial forest in Southeast Asia, Amazon and Africa. Through advanced 3-dimensional recording technologies, employed for the first time in these remote and extreme environments, the project is building an archive of entire circadian cycles. These 24-hour spherical sound portraits are analysed and presented to audiences through sensorial and cognitive time-lapse experiences, to foster awareness about the extinction crisis and the urgency of heritagization of the last refuges of biodiversity, which high systemic integrity is surprisingly clear in their balanced, but vanishing, soundscape. In order to experiment and to expose audiences to the intangible properties of these unique polyphonies, Sonosfera® has been engineered and built: a 60-seat mobile eco-acoustic amphitheatre which, through 45 loudspeakers perfectly positioned in spherical geometry and specific internal acoustics, enables the acoustic reconstruction and visualization of complex 3D sound habitats. Can these technology-mediated deep-listening experiences of primal soundscapes heal our senses and reduce the gap that disconnects us from Nature? Can these help the intimate leap of consciousness of individuals toward one of the most urgent and unavoidable issues of our times: the ecological transition?

DAVID MONACCHI                                                

David Monacchi (Italy - 1970) is an ecoacoustics researcher, composer and interdisciplinary artist. He has been developing the project Fragments of Extinction for 25 years, conducting field research in the world’s remaining areas of undisturbed primary equatorial forest in all continents. The recipient of multiple international awards for his work on intangible heritage of ecosystems, Monacchi is pioneering a cross-disciplinary approach based on unique 3D soundscape recordings, to raise awareness on the biodiversity crisis through science-based sound art. His Eco-acoustic Theatre’s patented invention (a spherical amphitheatre dedicated to sensorial and cognitive deep listening experiences) is being built in museums and public spaces, now traveling as SONOSFERA®. Monacchi has been portrayed by journals as Nature and PNAS, and is now professor at the State Conservatory of Pesaro, Italy. Collaborations with IUCN and ICCROM, to promote advocacy in primary forest soundscape conservation, culminated in an invited talk for the plenary session of the UN COP-14 Biodiversity Conference and for UN COP-27 Climate Change Conference.