Recorded on June 5, 2022, on the river banks of the Guadalquivir river in the city of Córdoba, in Southern Spain, as part of “Pasaje del agua | The Journeying Stream”—a three-day program of performances, meditation, music, and conversations convened jointly by TBA21 and TBA21–Academy—Laia Estruch’s performance Ocells Perduts V67 is an investigative sonic experiment exploring the relationships between the artist’s body, arboreous wetlands, and bird songs.
Like humans, birds generally privilege sonic registers to mark their presence. Their territory becomes a stage for performing their presence, a site of spectacle where they can be seen and heard. Taking place on Sotos de la Albolafia, one of the rich bird habitats of the Guadalquivir river, Estruch tunes herself to the acoustic environment of the riverside to enter into conversation with the fluvial ecosystem and its avifauna.
The artist gently accesses the “stage” of the birds and inhabits their territory by attending to the contact zones between her body and her aviary interlocutors. She adopts and vocalizes the chants of birds by listening to their songs and then replicating their signature sounds. The resulting dialogue between birds and human produces a unique sound ecosystem, an interspecies duet as a way of singing the territory together and of expanding the grammar of interrelations. With attention to worlding processes and acoustic habitat production, Estruch highlights the esthetics of sensation and communicability, which allows for new modes of subjectivity to emerge. The result is a vibrant spectrum of sounds and silences by which to make audible those at the threshold of politics. During the research process, Estruch consulted local ornithologists, forest managers, shepherds, musicians, and singing teachers who trained and instructed her.