“Birds Singing Other Birds’ Songs” by María Mencia
This work by Mencia is an exquisite combination of visual poetry, onomatopoeia, sound poetry, and Flash animation. Based on linguistic transcriptions of birdsongs, Mencia records people singing them and attaches the recordings to visual poems built out of the shape of the birds and the language of those transcriptions. An added interest is that the birdsongs (twice removed from the source) don’t match the visual representation of the bird in this poem, so by giving the reader the ability to select different birds, they can attempt to find the matching sound. Or you can turn them all on and attempt to sort them in your mind.
However much time you spend experiencing this beautiful poem, you will have spent directly or indirectly thinking about how human language attempts to capture the natural world, and how the digital computer can represent written spoken language through visual and kinetic arrangements.
Featured in The Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 1.