Urban Biophony

Sierra Arts Gallery, Reno, NV (Funded by the Candace Garlock Curatorial Grant) 

December 2018


Designed as an auditory map of the city of Reno, this artistic rendition of a natural forest built within the walls of the exhibition directly correlates to the noises happening within the city in real time.

Walking through the exhibition - much like a hike in nature - the visitor experiences the sensations and sounds of transient wildlife, streams and rustling leaves, which directly connect to the decibel levels and actions occurring throughout the city.

The speakers hung within the canopy, create an audio map, drawn from the local geography. Each speaker is connected to a sound sensor encircling the gallery in a half mile radius. The volume levels picked up are then transmitted to a Wi-Fi router. A specific city volume level dictates the speaker to play a specific bird call in real time.

The space is modeled after an aspen grove. The aspen is a tree which claims an identity of the High Sierras, and with its vast web of connected roots, these groves create some of the largest living organism.

Urban Biophony generates a web of auditory connections, completely and utterly manmade. Humans have an unprecedented rule over the natural soundscape. Our cities, cars, planes and man made facilities have begun to alter and over-power the wilderness. As cities expand, natural land disappears. Wildlife has begun to biologically mutate to assimilate and adapt to the exponential growth of the urban landscape.  

@ 2021 All photographs by Shelby McAuliffe 

Prints available upon request

Boulder, Colorado Artist

Available for travel worldwide