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subject to change (last edited, March 6, 2023)
Partially will be presented in Urban Resilience Research Center 20th Forum
March 7-8, 2023
Multiphony and Reductive Ecologies:
Ecology Reimagined through the Broadcasts of Edible Bird Nest Industries in South Thailand

supplementary webpage

partially representative of The Second Century Fund Research Project
Silent Frictions
work in progress

Dr. Can Bilir
Chulalongkorn University, 2023


In the upcoming decades, the rising oceanic level due to climate change will potentially cause major urban centers across the globe, such as Bangkok, to go completely under water according to Climate Central’s claim based on scientific studies and that appears in an interactive map ( The Takua Pa region in South Thailand, along with many other small and large settlements, is included into the total sinking scenario. Such ecological anticipations and eco-anxieties have a distant correlation with sound in discourse. Although sound and listening directly refer to the material manifestation of natural phenomena, sound culture has been largely occupied with the representative or stimulative formalizations of vibration mechanics or their cultural significations, thus standing as communicational or musical definitions in risk narratives. Therefore, materiality of sound has largely been overlooked in the changing environmental consciousness and risk narratives. In this paper, in light of recently and exponentially increasing and differentiating eco-anxieties in the region and sound’s material properties, I will trace sound’s role in ecological proposals within and beyond the conventional reductions of sound, in particular through my examination of the broadcasts of the edible bird nest industries in South Thailand based on my fieldwork and my research at Chulalongkorn University. I particularly focus on the close listening and analysis of selected swiftlet recordings of two original audio tracks that have been in circulation since the 2004 post-tsunami period in Takua Pa. I will further discuss the problems of cosmopolitics of sound and noise in terms of standardizations, such as sound pressure level through measurements as I examined surrounding the industrial bird nest farming houses. Intricate correlation of sound, nature, industry, and posthuman conditions of the techniques and motives of the edible bird nest industries challenge conventional definitions of ecology in anthropocentric terms. Upon this analysis, I propose two new theoretical problems to consider in discussions held in the framework of Anthropocene and which contribute to the ecological consciousness in light of the concepts that I have developed – multiphony and reductive ecologies.


Nature, Awakening—Deep Histories and Non-Futures: On New-Music, Technology, Material Production, and Sci-Fi

Discontinuity of continuity, Plato, Adorno, Media Archeology, Hi-Fidelity, 



Transcendental Slips of Human Mind: On Harmony, Cosmic Music, Scientific Knowledge, and Kantian Cosmopolitanism
Figure 2a. Tuning of the World Robert Fludd's, Utruisque Cosmi Historia, (Schafer p.6)
Hicks 230, Boethius.png
Figure 2b.Twelfth-century planetary diagram incorporated in Boethius, Composing the World, (Andrew Hicks, 2017,p. 230)


Becoming Materialist, Becoming Conscious (Becoming Intense)

Climate Central's Risk Map (rising water level in 2030–2050)

Figure 3a. 2050 Rising Sea Level Prediction View 
3b. Interactive Map

Prophecy or Prediction: New Temporalities of the Event, Happening, Becoming in Past-s, Now-s, and Future-s

A Sci-Fi DRAMA AND PLAY  – an Introduction

Temporalities of Life, the Heart-beats of Transforming Transducers Speakers – Silences – Universalized Planet – Provincialized Places – Transcendental Slips – Material Production – Misuse of Rhizome, Refrains, Music and Sounds, etc.

NOW-S: – Planetary Scale Environmental Impacts : commentaries on the event, happening, becoming
i.e. Rising Sea Level, Climate ChangeGlobal Warming, Plastic in Ocean, Soil and Water Contamination; + Plague, HIV, Ebola, Covid-19 
Pandemic's effect on local and global economy: lira crisis, inflation in Thailand, and global stagnation.


What is sound and music's role contributing to and potential to solve environmental problems? 

i.e. Relevant to significations of:

  • musical representation,

  • media circulations and broadcasts,

  • sound as a cultural/technical modalities

HISTORICITIES – Provincialized Planet and Place:
Local impacts: i.e. Sea Mucilage in Dardanelles (Turkiye), record heats in France since 2010, 2022 flooding in Thailand, seasonal inconsistencies. 

Interludi or Preludi: Mediation of Ludomusicology, Play, and Digital Analogies  

Digital– Analog Dichotomy Mediated: Marsyas 0 - Appolo 1 (Plato, Adorno, Schafer, Moseley )
Bachanales of Technique: Techno-logy beyond the binary digits, Coding and Syntactic theories
Transformational Harmonies of the Cosmic Nature, Human Nature, Non-natures, and Myth
Deception, Consciousness, or Fantasy beyond the Orchestral Timbre, and Form

Two Preludes and More: Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune- Debussy and Parsifal Prelude, Wagner, LOTR– Shore

Lack of beginnings, Mozart's Zaïde, construction of masculine monophony

PRAELUDIUM OF RISKY FUTURES:  Conflicts of the Universalized Planet in Prefixes:
Eco-cosmopolitanism, New-materialism, Post-humanism, Crypto-Currencies, Drone-Warfare (ie. Bayraktar UCAVs, Webb space telescope's pictures of gravitational lense, extraterrestrial colonization, Earth's Black Box Project, etc.)

Reductive Ecology and Multiphony Explained:

Composer's point of view to the ongoing discussion on environmental consciousness and eco-anxieties 


Ecology is based on logos of -eco, and it is bidirectionally reductive, as in the correlation of:
-analytics vs. synthetics (Kantian)
-molecular vs. molar
 vs. planetary–universal

-digital vs. analog

Mediation of the Material: Philosophical Perspective

None of these three modalities exist without one another, in perspective of a human as a cybernetic organism, I advocate for the mediation and simply the cyborg:

1) Impetus and Impulses, and the sensory perception of them as material forces (where transcendental slip happens is another discussion)

2) discourse

3) conceptualism

I believe that multiphony is audible and inaudible multiplicity (Bergson, Deleuze, Bennett, Braidotti et al). For me, multiplicity is conceptual, it is a cognitive schemata, though representational of the physical and material being. Multiphony, on the other hand, is mediated, sensory, temporal, vibrational mechanics, sense of place, living experience, and affective quality of life.

From Capitalism and Schizophrenia: A Thousand Plateaus,Deleuze and Guattari (1987),


Principle of multiplicity: it is only when the multiple is effectively treated as a substantive, "multiplicity," that it ceases to have any relation to the One as subject or object, natural or spiritual reality, image and world. Multiplicities are rhizomatic, and expose arborescent pseudomulti-plicities for what they are. There is no unity to serve as a pivot in the object, or to divide in the subject. There is not even the unity to abort in the object or "return" in the subject. A multiplicity has neither subject nor object, only determinations, magnitudes, and dimensions that cannot increase in number without the multiplicity changing in nature (the laws of combination therefore increase in number as the multiplicity grows)...There are no points or positions in a rhizome, such as those found in a structure, tree, or root...We do not have units (unites) of measure, only multiplicities or varieties of measurement. The notion of unity {unite) appears only when there is a power takeover in the multiplicity by the signifier or a corresponding subjectification proceeding: This is the case for a pivot-unity forming the basis for a set of biunivocal relationships between objective elements or points, or for the One that divides following the law of a binary logic of differentiation in the subject. Unity always operates in an empty dimension supplementary to that of the system considered (overcoding)...All multiplicities are flat, in the sense that they fill or occupy all of their dimensions: we will therefore speak of a plane of consistency of multiplicities, even though the dimensions of this "plane" increase with the number of connections that are made on it. Multiplicities are defined by the outside: by the abstract line, the line of flight or deterritorialization according to which they change in nature and connect with other multiplicities. The plane of consistency (grid) is the outside of all multiplicities. The line of flight marks: the reality of a finite number of dimensions that the multiplicity effectively fills; the impossibility of a sup- plementary dimension, unless the multiplicity is transformed by the line of flight; the possibility and necessity of flattening all of the multiplicities on a single plane of consistency or exteriority, regardless of their number of dimensions.  (Deleuze & Guattari 1987, 8–9).

PRINCIPLES: Ecology or Eco-logy?
Eco (house, environment)–logy (study, principle)
Human-cell, brain cell, silicon, earth, system, organs. BwO (Delete & Guattari 1987). 
& PLACE: Nature and Cosmos?

The place of nature is the cosmos, the place of “literally everything—including all the vast numbers of nonhuman entities making human act"(Latour 2004, 454).

mononaturalism (Latour 2004, 453)

“Whose Cosmos, Which Cosmopolitics?

TIME: Anthropocene or Anthropo-cene?
Anthropo (Man) – cene (Age)
Definitions of the masculine singulars, from Rosi Braidotti's Posthuman, 2013, pp. 65–66:

Universal ‘Man’, in fact, is implicitly assumed to be masculine, white, urbanized, speaking a standard language, heterosexually inscribed in a reproductive unit and a full citizen of a recognized polity (Irigaray, 1985b; Deleuze and Guattari, 1987) 

As if this line of criticism were not enough, this ‘Man’ is also called to task and brought back to its species specificity as anthropos (Rabinow, 2003; Esposito, 2008), that is to say as the representative of a hier- archical, hegemonic and generally violent species whose cen- trality is now challenged by a combination of scientific advances and global economic concerns.

The posthuman dimension of post- anthropocentrism can consequently be seen as a deconstruc- tive move. What it deconstructs is species supremacy, but it also inflicts a blow to any lingering notion of human nature, anthropos and bios, as categorically distinct from the life of animals and non-humans, or zoe. What comes to the fore instead is a nature–culture continuum in the very embodied structure of the extended self, as I argued earlier. This shift can be seen as a sort of ‘anthropological exodus’ from the dominant configurations of the human as the king of creation (Hardt and Negri, 2000: 215) – a colossal hybridization of the species.

Once the centrality of anthropos is challenged, a number of boundaries between ‘Man’ and his others go tumbling down, in a cascade effect that opens up unexpected perspectives. Thus, if the crisis of Humanism inaugurates the posthuman by empowering the sexualized and racialized human ‘others’ to emancipate themselves from the dialectics of master–slave relations, the crisis of anthropos relinquishes the demonic forces of the naturalized others. Animals, insects, plants and the environment, in fact the planet and the cosmos as a whole, are called into play.

Reductive Ecologies in Acoustic Terms

Ecology is the study of the relationship between living organisms and their environment. Acoustic ecology is therefore the study of sounds in relationship to life and society. This cannot be accomplished by remaining in the laboratory. It can only be accomplished by considering on location the effects of the acoustic environment on the creatures living in it. (Schafer 1994, 205)

Ecology is the study of the relationship between living organisms and their environment. Acoustic ecology is thus the study of the effects of the acoustic environment or SOUNDSCAPE on the physical responses or behavioral characteristics of creatures living within it. Its particular aim is to draw attention to imbalances which may have unhealthy or inimical effects. (Schafer 1994, 271)

ACOUSTIC DESIGN: A new interdiscipline requiring the talents of scien- tists, social scientists and artists (particularly musicians), acoustic de- sign attempts to discover principles by which the aesthetic quality of the acoustic environment or SOUNDSCAPE may be improved. In order to do this it is necessary to conceive of the soundscape as a huge musical composition, ceaselessly evolving about us, and to ask how its orchestration and forms may be improved to bring about a richness and diversity of effects which, nevertheless, should never be destruc- tive of human health or welfare. The principles of acoustic design may thus include the elimination or restriction of certain sounds (noise abatement), the testing of new sounds before they are released indis- criminately into the environment, but also the preservation of sounds (SOUNDMARKS), and above all the imaginative placement of sounds to create attractive and stimulating acoustic environments for the future. Acoustic design may also include the composition of model environ- ments, and in this respect it is contiguous with contemporary musical composition. (Schafer 1994, 271)

THREE MODES OF LISTENING ( P. Schaeffer / M. Chion):
1) Causal Listening
2) Semantic Listening
3) Reduced Listening 


Beyond the Speakers: Materiality of Transducers

Transducer is a converter that changes the form of energy, converting electrical energy to other forms of energy, and vice versa. i.e. microphone and speakers, including the piezoelectric that we use in contact microphones.

"The piezoelectric transducer is, in one account, the machine interface to the body." (Barad, 202)

...piezoelectric transducers [Can Bilir: "I include all transducers, and technologized objects into it] materialize (and are iteratively rematerialized) in intra-action with a multitude of practices, including those that involve medical needs; design constraints (including legal, economic, biomedical, physics, and engineering ones); market factors; political issues; other R & D projects using similar materials; the educational background of the engineers and scientists designing the crystals and the workplace environment of the engineering firm or lab; particular hospital or clinic en­ vironments where the technology is used; receptivity ofthe medical commu­ nity and the patient community to the technology; legal, economic, cultural, religious, political, and spatial constraints on its uses; positioning of pa­tients during examination; and the nature of training of technicians and physicians who use the technology. (Barad 203–204)


"The materialization of an apparatus is an open (but nonarbitrary) temporal process: apparatuses do not simply change in time; they materialize (through) time. Apparatuses are themselves material-discursive phenomena, materializing in intra-action with other material­ discursive apparatuses." (Ibid, previous paragraph)


In terms of differentiation of modality of apparatuses from temporal processes and material-discursive and material-physical phenomena. 

Thus, the transducer exists in multiphony; it is an organ of the cybernetic organism. Karen Barad's definition at first seems limited to the ultrasound in particular form of medical practice, though, in a larger extent, it addresses the functionality of materiality and cyborg in Donna Haraway's terms  (Haraway 2016b (1985))


Transducer exists in an ontological problem of materiality, either if materiality is narrowly defined through  logos and practice of Anthropo-cene and eco-logy, or in dialectic inversion. Thus, multiphony is extensive and beyond discourse of any kind; rather than simply reductive manifestation,  multiplicity is manifested in refrains (Deleuze & Guattari 1987), conceptualized, narrated, and communicated in networks of action and inaction in the biological manifestation of a rhizome in the eco-system, it extensively thrives and dissolves, so does the speaker.

Screenshot Light Theremin 2023-03-03 at 10.20.30 AM.png
Figure 4a (Video.1). Circuit, Fig. 4b. code. Light Theremin / Flute, and Arduino Integrated Development Environment, an example of a transducer and piezoelectricity
Public Speakers in South Thailand

Figure 5a. Example of pop up speaker and music broadcast
copyright Can Bilir, 2022-2023
Figure 5b. 2004 Tsunami Speaker Remnants
copyright Can Bilir, 2022-2023
Figure 6a-e. Edible Bird Nest Farming Houses
copyright Can Bilir, 2022-2023
Reduction of Multiphony in Birdnest Broadcasts:
excerpts of close reading and analysis of audio 


Monophonic Audio Design

Single objet sonore : swiftlet (as a unified unit of targeted species)

Single event: Audio Design made out of single event definitions: 

Advanced cross fade in certain sections 

Overall creative manipulation and collage of the sample (audio recording)

Audio engineering problems: clipping, lack of cross fade in section min 32

Single Aim: Audio as fertilizer for industrial production


Sample analysis AM.png
Sample Analysis Zoomed in.png
excerpt_swiftletthailand Ext H Track 01 (1)
00:00 / 00:51
Figure 7. a & b: spectra, c/ Audio1. Original Audio  Excerpt & d. Video 2. Swiftlet Audio Excerpt, Max 8 Spectrum Analysis
Figure 8a. Bird nest decks in a house
Figure 8b. Double deck: continuous audio transmission
Noise Radar: Threshold of 55 dB motorized vehicle,
the Case of "Eco-Cosmopolitan" motives in Paris, February 2022
Noise Radar, < 55dB

"Too much noise makes people sick. For our health and quality of life...this first sound radar's aim is to automatically issue fines for vehicles that makes too much noise," Paris deputy mayor David Belliard. (Reuters Feb 14, 2022)

Standardized Noise Definitions; health Concerns and immediate empirical data, such as dB 140+ threshold of pain and hearing impairment.


Complex Noise Definitions to be concerned: unwanted sound,  subjective loudness, disturbance, annoyance, short and long term impacts on hearing and deafness, psychological effects, unpredicted wave transmissions with small and large scale destructions in constructions, engineering, and natural phenomena such as earthquakes and tsunamis, interference into the media and signal, etc.

These forms can contain information about an environmental risk with sequences of impacts to lives, instant and slow violations beyond human sensory perception, such as radiations, poisonings, and chemical decay in the components of an ecosystem including edible and ihalable matter.

Intensity of Sound or the Power of Signal: Decibel



1) dBFS: Decibel  Full Scale -1 0, 0 1 dB

2) dB SPL : Decibel Sound Pressure Level 0–140+ (Treshold of pain)


dB = 20 log10 x/y

when x is pressure of sound and y is reference pressure


Amplitude                dBFS

1                                  0

0.5                             -6

0.25                          -12

0.125                        -18

0.1                            -20

0.01                          -40

0.001                       -60

0.0001                     -80

0                                inf~

dB SPL                         Signification

140                                 threshold of pain

130                                 jet taking off

120                                 rock concert

110                                 orchestra fortissimo

100                                truck engine

90                                  traffic (heavy)

80                                  retail store

70                                  office

60                                  conversation

50                                  house

40                                  night in countryside

30                                  rustle of leaves

20                                  wind

10                                  breeze

0                                    weakest perceptible sound

Table.  Equal Loudness Curves (Cipriani & Giri 2019, 15–16)
Figure. 9 a & b  Equal Loudness Curves, Georgia State University, accessed Feb 28, 2023

Some Results

Industrial/Environmental Conditions and New Definitions of Noise and Silences

Annoyance and disturbance : Ethnographic research in the region provides mixed results, no single annoyance is observed.

Empirically Limited Noise Definitions in terms of common health risks:

a) 100–140+ dB Sound Pressure Level: NEGATIVE

Motorcycles min 77 bD SPL (approximated)

Public Speaker systems 70-120 dB SPL (depending on the positionality)

Swiftlet calls : 72 dB (average street positionality)

b) iterations: DETECTED (in forms of high frequency range), MORE DATA REQUIRED


c) Unheard Sounds: Infra and Ultra sounds, in addition to Electromagnetic Field Radiations and vibrations etc: MORE DATA REQUIRED

High level of EMF Radiation is detected

Low level, inconsistent ionizing (Gamma ray) radiation is present

Other Industrial/Environmental Concerns in the Region: Historicity of Tin mining (Tin Rush), Plunge of Rubber Industry and Palm (Palm Rush), Tsunami and Earthquakes, Flooding, Seasonal Inconsistencies, Land Dispute and Mangroves' Conditions.

Transducer: Listening Practicalities (in progress)



field recording as an active mode of practicality of listening,  

mono, stereo, multi channel, binaural recordings, and ambisonics

Counter Argument to Annoyance Level: 72 dB Bird Nest Broadcasts (77–90+ dB in general motorcycles and other sounds)

panning formulation:

Cybernetic Implants of (post)Human Multiphony (in progress)

00:00 / 00:14
Audio. 2
CBilir_MarketplaceNamKhem StableRec_BinauralAmbix_stereo
00:00 / 00:22
Audio. 3
00:00 / 00:29
Audio. 4
Ambiencode Zurich Un.png
Figure. Additional Gear and Technical Examples
(Un)conscious Mind of (Post)Human: Abstractions and Schematics

Principles and Paradoxes:  On Ontologies, Epistemologies,  Cognition and Sensory Perception, and Illusions 

Meanings in Syntax, Rhizome and Generative Theory, Auditory Perspectives

New- definitions, Cold War Music and "international" composers

Through-the-looking-glass State (Bilir, 2019)

See Further:


Scaling Refrains, (upcoming publication), and tba.


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© cb 2023

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