Three pandemic stories from Medellin
Bird sounds, music about air and how a lack of tourists shaped Comuna 13
This week I am in Medellín, Colombia, for the World Conference of Science Journalists. This conference was supposed to happen in 2021, but for obvious reasons it was postponed two years. Before the meeting started I had a bit of time to explore the city, and I learned what it was like in Medellín during COVID-19. Three of these stories are below, all related to art and community and some related to science.
The city without us
“Pulso de la Ciudad” (pulse of the city) is a current exhibit at the Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín (MAMM) that includes different artist views on the pandemic. One of the displays was “La ciudad sin nosotros” (the city without us), a combination of photos and sounds that captured how the pandemic changed the ecosystem of the city. Bird sounds are already common in Medellín, but during the pandemic it was much easier for the animals to compete with the background noise of the city.
The process of capturing data from sound is called sonification, and is used in ecology research, for example to study ecosystems without disturbing the animals.