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Signal / Return by Kelly Markovich

Friday, October 16 5:30-9:30pm and Saturday, Octboer 17 12pm-6pm

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Signal / Return

by Kelly Markovich
with support from Centre for Art Tapes

Allow yourself to be enveloped by the euphonious and, at times, cacophonous vocalization of bats. Signal / Return is an immersive sound art piece that uses sound ecology to examine acoustic relationships between living organisms - human and non-human - and their connections with the environment. In this piece, audio recordings of bat communication and echolocation are used to create a multichannel, spatial audio experience.

Bats are one of the least understood and persecuted animals. Most people are frightened of bats because of unfounded myths associated with them. In actuality, bats are amazing mammals that contribute to the health of natural ecosystems by controlling insect populations, and there are some plants that depend on bats to pollinate their flowers or spread their seeds. They navigate space and find food in the dark by sending out sound waves from the mouth or nose, and when the signal hits an object a return echo is produced, providing the bat with essential information. Bats are communicative mammals with a wide range of vocalizations.

As the CFAT x Nocturne Summer Artist-in-Residence, I have been responding to this year's theme by relying on the sense of hearing and the action of deep listening. For this project, I sourced bat calls from the feeding ecosystems and roosts around the Atlantic Provinces. Deep listening requires a conscious choice to slow down, and since bats can be elusive, this was a necessary part of my process and contributed to the final composition of the work. This multichannel, immersive soundscape consists of 7 species of bats and over 24 different vocalizations.

With this piece, I invite listeners to enter the space and close their eyes to connect with the sounds on a deeper level. While engaging with Signal / Return, I ask individuals to discern the possibility of interspecies symbiosis within a shared landscape.

Considering the current climate and restrictions I have created two versions - the main piece will be screened in the project room at Centre for Art Tapes, 2238 Maitland St. on Friday, October 16, 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm, and Saturday, October 17, 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm. In the meantime, if you are interested in a teaser, I have partnered with Echoes and created a version that will be accessible virtually on Monday, October 12. Download the Echoes App @ and search for the project, Signal / Return.


It was necessary to use specialized equipment to capture audio recordings of the bat sounds. I’d like to thank the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, PEI, for sharing information and resources; Parks Canada, PEI, for granting me recording access to the sites; CFAT for supporting this project and the endless supply of equipment and resources; and Nocturne for including my work in this year’s festival.

Bats are in trouble. A disease known as white-nosed syndrome has wiped out millions of bats in North America. Habitat loss, pesticide use, evictions from roost sites, and misinformation produce an added threat to already stressed populations. To learn more about how you can help, please visit Canadian Wildlife Federation @

Exhibition Info:

To experience the physical installation, you can visit us at 2238 Maitland Street on Friday, October 16th 5:30-9:30pm and Saturday, October 17th 12pm-6pm.
Kelly Markovich has partnered with Echoes and created a version that will be accessible virtually on Monday, October 12 - Saturday October 17. Download the Echoes App @ and search for the project, Signal / Return.

Safety and Access Notes:

We will be allowing 4 viewers in our space at a time, with staff and volunteers designated inside to maintain flow of visitors in the space. All visitors must be wearing a non-medical mask, adhere to social distancing measure and will be asked to use hand sanitizer upon entering our space. If necessary, we will ask that visitors wait in line outside of the building until it is their turn to come in - we recommend that you wear some warm and cozy clothes for waiting!

The doors for our facilities to not have buttons to press for automatic entry – staff and volunteers will be monitoring the door for anyone who may need assistance. The main entrance to CFAT is ground level. Washrooms will not be available for use at this time. Chairs will be available for visitors to use while experiencing this installation.

Care for yourself and others. We reserve the right to ask anyone to leave the space, for discrimination, violent acts or any behaviour that makes other feels unsafe or uncomfortable.

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