Kirsten Reese Creatures and Signals Performance — Teufelsberg — Sun 9/30/18 — 4pm  

Creatures and signals connects dystopia concepts to animal sounds. Which animals will survive (us) on earth? What beings will they evolve into? Will they develop a new language? Will they communicate with other beings and life forms?

The sounds used originate from benign, seemingly insignificant creatures—to be precise, insects. They are fragile sounds, soft or mutated, distorted, sometimes incorporating a certain electronic quality. The sounds were discovered while researching the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin’s vast archive of animal sounds (Tierstimmenarchiv).

Millions of insects and tiny creatures still inhabit the earth, most of them undiscovered, some thriving under the most unwelcoming of conditions, many are endangered. The work is based on speculative research on extinct and imagined animals.

These transformed animal voices sound together with the  Fairlight CMI (Computer Musical Instrument, one of the first digital synthesizers and samplers). The synthesized and sampled sounds on this archaic yet futuristic ›utopian‹ instrument are reminiscent of animal sounds showing a linguistic quality, very specific, very mysterious, very beautiful. The performance takes advantage of the unique environment of the Teufelsberg listening station with its dystopian history of surveillance. A site that today is characterized by decay and overgrowth.


With kind support by the Tierstimmenarchiv Museum für Naturkunde Berlin (Dr. Karl-Heinz Frommolt).


Kirsten Reese (DE) is a composer and sound artist. Her work focuses on compositions, temporary installations and audio walks for landscapes and urban exteriors. She works with documentary and archived material, and works that address the aura and historicity of media instruments.

Foto: Edgar Hartung

Kirsten Reese