Gustavo Matamoros: Sit and Listen in the Dark

By Gustavo Matamoros for

Gustavo Matamoros is the September 2013 AIRIE Fellow.

-2It is the end of my second week in residence at Everglades National Park and I have been mostly exploring.  There is plenty around here for the eye during the day—as you may hint from the pictures below.  But I work with sound and I’ve learned that in order to find audible activity in the park this month, I have to go hunt for it, not just geographically…but these things have their own schedule.  Wildlife is spread out these days because water is plentiful.

I’ve been lucky it isn’t too hot, and I’ve figured out how to cover myself well to avoid thousands of mosquito bites in the evenings. The best part of my time here so far is being outside late at night recording in the dark.  There is a serious deficit of light in the park after dark and if the sky is clear, you can see thousands of stars.  But they don’t help you see below. I’ve heard frogs and insects, owls and crows, alligators and pig frogs … and many other things i can’t recognize.  I was told by scientist Skip Snow, whose interest in sound focuses on bats, that there are 4 or 5 different species in the park all of which cry calls in the ultrasonic range, well above what we can hear.  I’m hoping to catch some of those around the pines.

gmMy plans are to gather a few recordings and make a piece that will be on a CD in the next issue of IRREVERSIBLE magazine and which will be displayed as an AIRIE PROJECT installation at the Listening Gallery on Lincoln Road. I have proposed to continuing visiting the park after my residency in order to amass a good audible representation of the park’s year-round soundscape transformations for future releases and projects.