Back, here below, formidable

"Back, here below, formidable" (2011) by Marguerite Humeau is an installation from the "Vocal Tracts" series.

Back, here below, formidable

Mammoth Imperator, Resonance Cavities; photo: Stuart Bailes

"Back, Here Below, Formidable - The Rebirth of Prehistoric Creatures" is a quest which aim is to resuscitate the sound of extinct animals by reconstructing their vocal tracts.

This is problematic from the scientific point of view: since the vocal tract is made of soft tissue, it does not fossilise. The only things that have been preserved through time are the surrounding bones. The inner parts have to be redesigned.

For more than six months I have been discussing with palaeontologists, zoologists, veterinarians, engineers, explorers, surgeons, ear and throat specialists, and radiologists.

The scientific evidence runs parallel to the rumours, fears and fictions.
Advices from experts as well as predictions are used to craft the roars of the new creatures.

The recreated beasts have adopted soft tissue from their living descendants. A redesign of the larynx and vocal cords, windpipes of estimated length and diameter, and a new, fresh artificial breathing produced by an air compressor.

The beasts are semi-real.

And suddenly, they roar in a non macabre but spectacular pandemonium.

(Resonance cavities, larynx with vibrating vocal cords, windpipe, air compressor, programmed breathing system, subwoofer)

3d models: Clifford Sage
Book: Ghazaal Vojdani


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