Digital artist creates "visual sounds" from Amazonian birdsongs (Video)

Andy Thomas
Video screen capture Andy Thomas

It seems that no matter where you look, human technology is on a collision course with nature. From Google-mapping Amazon rainforests and ocean atolls for remote viewing, or research drones tagging endangered wildlife -- that same technology can be turned around by others to find and clear-cut remote rainforests or poach threatened animals. It's a double-edged sword.

That tension between nature and technology is what Australian artist Andy Thomas explores with his richly layered artworks, which are a combination of digital technology, water colours, and sometimes, sounds recorded in rainforests in Brazil, Thailand New Zealand and Finland. When digitally animated and linked to respond to these natural sounds, the result is a captivating synthesis of imaginary sights and real sound.


Visual Sounds of the Amazon from Andy Thomas on Vimeo.

Andy ThomasAndy Thomas/Video screen capture

Working over the last two decades to develop his own visual language and techniques, Thomas calls these striking compositions of "evolved abstract forms" of flora and fauna as "nature digitized":

[These] intricately layered compositions of plants and animals make a strong statement of technology’s impact on planet earth and how advancements in society are affecting the natural systems of life.

Andy ThomasAndy Thomas/Video screen capture

Andy ThomasAndy Thomas/Video screen capture

Andy ThomasAndy Thomas/Video screen capture

Thomas travels to remote wild places and records the sounds found there. These are then processed on a computer, while computer-generated 3D images are created and programmed to respond to these bursts of sound, making for some psychedelic-looking montages.


Synthetic Nature 2 from Andy Thomas on Vimeo.

Andy ThomasAndy Thomas/Video screen capture

Andy ThomasAndy Thomas/Video screen capture

Andy ThomasAndy Thomas/Video screen capture

It's brilliant how this approach renders these intangible sounds visible, making us 'see' the potential beauty of these wild songs, ostensibly bringing us into this lush atmosphere that exists out there in nature -- and in our heads. To see and hear more, visit Andy Thomas.

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