Bird Language

Helena Nikonole (RU)


The project explores the possibilities of Artificial Intelligence in a bio-semiotics context. The AI is looking for some patterns in the structure of birds’ sounds to build a mathematical model of the universal grammar of Bird Language.

In the first stage of the project, we trained a neural network on sounds of nightingales and created a situation of communication between non-human agents: birds and AI. This is a metaphor for communication between nature and technology where a human being is not necessary. The second stage of the project entails the creation of an AI translator from bird language to human language. The Deep Learning is identifying patterns in Big Data of birds’ signs and grouping similar signs into clusters. We are interpreting these clusters to build the AI translator for interspecies communication.

Bird Language/Helena Nikonole (RU), Credits: Helena Nikonole

In this case, the AI is not only a mediator or interface between human beings and birds but rather an organ or full partner, semiotically active. It helps us to understand the bird’s subjectivity through its language.

Project Credits:

Developed in collaboration with:

  • Veronica Samotskaya — ornithologist, scientist-biologist, science popularizer, journalist
  • Natalia Soboleva — AI expert
  • Nikita Prudnikov – AI expert
  • Konstantin Yakovlev — PhD in Physics and Mathematics, AI expert
  • This project was supported by Garage Museum of Contemporary Art.



Helena Nikonole (RU) is a media artist and lecturer whose work explores intersections of art and technologies such as Artificial Intelligence or Internet of things. According to Helena Nikonole, an artistic exploration of the potential possibilities (and also potential risks) of technologies like Machine Learning is necessary to understand the context of our modern technology- and media-determined world. She presents lectures and workshops in the field of Art&Science and new media art at different institutions including Rodchenko Art School (Moscow), Art Laboratory (Berlin), Institute of Philosophy (Russian Academy of Sciences) and National Centre for Contemporary Arts (Moscow). Exhibitions include “Persisting Realities” in the frame of CTM Festival (Kunstraum Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany), “Open Codes” ZKM Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany, “IAM” GARAGE Museum, “The Wrong – New Digital Art Biennial,” “New Codes of Art,” ELECTROMUSEUM (VI Moscow Biennial of Contemporary Art), PolitechScienceArt exhibition at GARAGE Museum Moscow, “Earth Lab” (The Polytechnic Museum and Ars Electronica Center collaborative project), “101” Mediapoetry Festival (St. Petersburg) and many others.