[ISEA2023] Artist Talk: Courtney Brown — Dinosaur Choir: Becoming Hadrosaur via Musical Interface

Artist Statement

Theme Interactive – Networked – HCI: Sound Sub theme Symbiotic Imaginaries

Keywords: Dinosaur, Acoustic Paleontology, Paleoacoustic Ecology, New Interface for Musical Expression, Musical Instrument

Lambeosaurine hadrosaurs are duck-billed dinosaurs known for their large head crests. Researchers hypothesize these large crests were resonators for vocal calls. This talk will present my project, Dinosaur Choir, which brings these calls to life as singing dinosaur musical instruments, creating a dinosaur choir and musical ensemble. The work is both an interactive installation exhibited in displays and an instrument for on-going performance practice.

Musicians and participants give voice to these dinosaur instruments by blowing into a mouthpiece, exciting a larynx mechanism and resonating the sound through the dinosaur’s nasal cavities and skull. By breathing life into the dinosaur, in a sense, they fleetingly experience being a dinosaur. This intimate action with an extinct creature aims to stimulate excitement and educate the public about dinosaurs, paleontology, and raise awareness and questions about global ecological instability and the passage of deep time.

  • Courtney Brown (USA) is an interdisciplinary performer/composer and researcher combining music with paleontology/biology, dance, coding and engineering. She creates new musical instruments and works, allowing embodied glimpses into another’s experience, whether that other is a human, dinosaur, or another being.