The sound bats make, their echolocation calls, occur naturally at frequencies beyond our hearing range. This means we may see the bats fly but may not hear them cry. This installation version of “Distant Bats” is designed to broadcast bat calls at frequencies we are able to hear. This is achieved by slowing down the recording several octaves into our hearing range. In Distant Bats, we can hear mostly navigation calls and a few hunting calls, but we can’t see the bats.
A simpler, stereo version of the 4-channel Listening Gallery sound installation is available in CD format as a limited edition run in the 2013 winter issue of Irreversible Magazine.
These sounds were recorded during a month-long AIRIE residency in the Everglades National Park. The piece is dedicated to scientist Skip Snow who educated me about the different species of bats likely to be present in the park and when and where they could be found. It is a very unusual thing to try to record sounds that can’t be heard. The soundscape recording that captures the bats calls featured in this installation was made at Long Pine Key on September 12, 2013 between the hours of 6 and 9 p.m.