Superorganism: Listening in the anthropocene

Project Details

Event: Botanica Festival

Funding: Brisbane City Council

Focus: Sound research, curation and design, installation design, lighting design


Lead Artist: Dr. Sarah Barns (sound curation, concept design)

Audio-visual design: Michael Killalea

Music composition: Nigel Cruikshank

Sound design and installation: Pete Hird

Technical design and installation: Leif Wilson, Pete Hird

Steel entranceway: Ran Stanton, Tortuga Studios

Lighting supplies: Minleon Lighting

With thanks to the following field recordists for permission to use recordings in this piece: Andrew Skeoch, Vicky Powys, George Vlad (UK). Acknowledgement to the State Library of Western Australia for use of John Hutchinson's 1980 field recordings of the Daintree Rainforest.

A bespoke sound and light installation by Esem Projects, Superorganism invites audiences to step inside the vast canopy of the City Botanic Gardens’ Tipuana tree. Lie back, look up, and listen in to past, present and imagined future sounds of our fragile planetary ecosystems.

Informed by the ideas of James Lovelock, creator of the Gaia hypothesis, Superorganism resonates with different soundings of complex ecosystems – from natural to artificial, from historical bird songs to electro-synthesis and machine intelligence.

Taking place at pivot point in the history of our planet, during an era of mass extinction and loss of biodiversity, Superorganism invites audiences to reflect, under the canopy of the tree, on what we are losing, what we gain by paying attention, and what uncertain futures lie ahead.

Superorganism at Botanica Festival 2021 by Esem Projects
Superorganism at Botanica Festival 2021 by Esem Projects
Superorganism at Botanica 2021
Superorganism at Botanica, City Botanic Gardens Brisbane, May 2021
Listen Up! Art of Listening Event produced by Dr. Sarah Barns

Superorganism sound and programmable lights illuminated inside the Tipuana Tree during Botanica Festival, 8-16 May 2021.