Leena Saarinen: Etudes for Birds, 2020
The piece Etudes for Birds studies language, mimicry and interspecies communication. The starting point of the work is the idea of mimicry as an interspecies pidgin language through which one can understand another species and empathise with its point of view. Could an art piece be a means to become something else in order to feel empathy for other beings?*
Saarinen has studied bird language with spectrograms* that visualise bird sounds. First she imitated bird vocalisations by drawing, then she translated the drawings into sounds as spectrograms and finally she compiled the drawn sounds into a constructed soundscape. Saarinen has also played these drawn sounds to the birds of the Central Park of Helsinki.
Leena Saarinen (b. 1988) is a visual artist from Helsinki whose artistic work is multidisciplinary and based on research. Saarinen’s work is founded on an interest in translations and on what can appear or disappear in the translation process. Her topics also include the relationship between the original and fabricated mimicry.
A spectrogram is a visual representation of sound with which the spectrum of frequencies of different sounds can be elucidated.