New York

Nina Katchadourian


Nina Katchadourian was hiking last year in Trinidad when she heard a naggingly familiar sound. It was, she knew, a birdcall, shrill and intermittent, patterned by the deep urges of instinct. But it sounded just like a car alarm. Thus was born her Natural Car Alarms, 2002, sponsored by SculptureCenter and migrating through the streets of Long Island City until the center opens its new building there in November.

Katchadourian approached ornithologists from the Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at Cornell University, who were intrigued by her idea of matching the timbre and sequencing of urban Klaxons to the cries of the aviary. From the initial sampling they provided of thirty-three birdcalls, Katchadourian selected eighteen; six of these unique sounds were mixed into cycles for each of three alarms. With assistance from the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University,

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