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Nocturnal Fugue


Jiabao Li, Matt McCorkle

With the help of AI, researchers found bats have more complex language than previously thought, with individual names, the ability to argue over food, and vocal learning. Just like human baby talk, mother bats lower their pitch when talking to babies. What would a baby bat lullaby sound like? Would a song made of bat mating calls be a love song?

Enter into Nocturnal Fugue, where you experience an immersive world of bats. Their social vocalizations transform into evocative music set to imaginative digital recreations of their natural habitats. Each digital habitat crafts a different sense of scale and time, creating a mood centric to the social vocalizations that are being heard and felt. Explore and feel the identity of bats through their isolation, sleeping, kissing, mating, feeding, grooming, and fighting vocalizations. As their sounds are transmogrified into imaginative soundscapes you are transported into the unique sonic world of bats through spatial sound, immersive projections, and haptic vibrations.

Inspired by Thomas Nagel's philosophical inquiry in "What Is it Like to Be a Bat?", this project delves into the enigma of truly comprehending the experience of another species. While we may grasp the superficial metadata of bat behavior, the true content of their communication remains elusive. Can we ever fully understand the language of bats, even with the aid of AI? We might not be able to find many words from the bat world in human’s dictionary.

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