Murky frog pond at night. Albino largemouth bass.

Murky frog pond at night. Albino largemouth bass.

Pseudacris crucifer, the Northern Spring Peeper, is a tiny tree frog that choruses in the tens of thousands in thickly forested regions of the Appalachian mountains through early spring to early summer.

A regional indicator species, these frogs are particularly sensitive to pollutants and mining runoff-- common problems of the rural Southern West Virginia coalfields.

The original field recordings were made in the thick temperate forest on the artist's family farm, directly adjacent to a new coal mining operation that opened in the year that the artist's father died.

An audio-biography of the spring forest at night, the work is best experienced in 5.1 surround sound multichannel installation format or as a live multimedia performance. Using Max/MSP and Max/Jitter, the artist samples from a database of hundreds of individual recorded cries of frogs and other night creatures. Drones and low frequency rumbles are created by stretching and building layers of frog cries, the voice of the artist's dead father, and the explosive sounds of mining operations. Drones are created from the reading a poem the artist and her father wrote about frogs long ago. Excerpt of raw recordings below:

Each voice a signal and
each signal a flare
in the darkness, gold
tongues on treebark
,
ringing and ringing and
ringing again
like lighthouses.

When our trembling
beam lit up the tree
they held their breaths,
staring, blinded, with
a thousand jeweled eyes.


From leaden pondwater
they come, little bodies
squirm, float, drink air,
and mold themselves of these:

clay, and

water, and

sound.