Earthbound — In Dialogue with Nature

Erik Bünger

«Nature see you», 2022

In 2015 the video message by a gorilla named Koko addressing leaders at the United Nations climate change conference went viral on the Internet. Koko was trained to communicate using American Sign Language. Using a few simple but poignant gestures, the gorilla urged humans to take action and save nature. Artist Erik Bünger utilizes sequences from the original video message and introduces a digital avatar to translate the Koko’s sign language. The artist's digital interpreter analyses the syntax and vocabulary of the gorilla's gestures and how these have been misused by the gorilla’s keepers to convey an alleged message from nature. Through the use of a digital interpreter, who acts as the artist's voiceover, Bünger intends to reveal the power and abuse of the voiceover. The video question whether nature can comprehend its extinction and why humans remain deaf to its appeals.

Erik Bünger (SE) is an artist, composer, and writer. He focuses on the relationship between voice, performed language, and the body, as well as narration and representation of communication through and within technology. His recent research project explores the phenomenon of the voice-over; an unseen narrator speaking in different media. Using archival and documentary materials, musical compositions, and lecture-performances Bünger reflects on the manipulative potential of language and narration to adjust meaning. His work has been presented in international cultural festivals and institutions. With a background as a composer and philosopher, Bünger is exploring the side-effects of communication and technology. He is a fellow at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. Erik Bünger lives and works in Vienna.