Nacoca Ko                                                                                                                                    ︎  ︎ ︎ ︎  

MOVEMENT residency - Installation, performance, video 2021/22

(nesting text)



Throughout the month of October, 2021, Nacoca Ko created a liminal nest, spawning a space where multiple lines of realities converge: the physical space-time room, with its contained objects and sensors, robots and humans; the digital plane of video art interfacing between the virtual and the real; past and future space-times manifesting through dreams and memories; the surreal adaptations of machine-learning programs; the distorted perspective of livecams; and you, in your own complex reality.

The work was informed by nesting with humans and entangling with birds. Those garden birds that chose to nest outside a window, as well as those surveyed through lockdown on a livecam - falcons high in the mountains that created their nest from sticks and plastic bags, and later fed city pigeons to their young. These works were hatched from my residency in October 2021 at

Sabl exists in a secret physical location, that can be viewed 24/7 by streaming surveillance cameras online.  For this residency, a woven network consisting of items brought from my studio and outside the sabl space create a nest for artistic research. Videos accumulated from my observations and re(de)construction of the world meet new AI-formed birdlike creatures. The original birds in the dataset are from Ernst Haeckel’s drawings. With Alan Ixba, GANs morph the birds and try to clone their calls. With Jo Vargas, autonomous robotic nest eggs hatch a world-song in a tempo and sonority of their own.

The immortal Phoenix has its own nest of fire and ash, circling in life cycles upon itself. But it gets lonely and wants to love something other than itself.   Dividing into two, they find an old red vase in someone’s backyard, a human nest, and it lays its eggs there. A nest within a nest within a nest.

Sometimes he is the guardian and she flies. They take turns hunting insects and larvae, a relay race of protection and nourishment. Survival is precarious and nearly impossible but full of hope and surrender, disruption, redemption.

She sits alone for hours in the near darkness, lit by the glow of her phone. She scrolls, waiting. If predators come near, she beats her wings against the tin vase, amplifying the protective echoes of her love.

The Nest is cosmogonic, where a world can be built from nothing, yet offers generous gifts toward the unknown. It is conceived and fertilised by ethereal resonance with generations/myths/objects/lifeforms/sounds that no longer exist. It hatches new agency, hazard, will, chaos. It activates compassion, rhythm, and evolutionary trajectories. It breeds a place where thought, identity, and dreams can be incubated.

You are looking at me in my 4 blank walls, but I can only see your 4 black eyes. There are no real blank walls, only environments for nesting. You survey me but you cannot see me. You have facial-recognised me, saved my preferences, updated my password. In turn I have hacked your cameras with reinterpreted narratives. You can only see a single frame of me- if you are lucky, a sequence. Maybe you have 4 reference points, but it’s not enough. My personal data is without walls.


Do you want to come to sabl? asked Félix, and so I follow him, some rando off the internet, into a dark and secret place… I give the address to a friend so they know where to look for me. He’s not a serial killer, just an artist. I start editing the video from my lockdown train rides of 2020. Panning across lands crushing in on themselves, skies opening portals of kaleidoscopic clouds, I glide through folds in reality, in-between spaces, transitions where things can be created, born. I can thread these strands of sky spaces falling through the windows toward my knees. Helping me say goodbye to the lost lands, swaying toward a new paradigm, Campagna is a podcast on my phone, a mental vinyasa. “Nyasa” meaning “to place,” “vi” - “in a special way.”

But where to place all these pieces of rapid sky, accelerating movements and Artificial Intelligence stories that have not yet been written by Lem? His AI could be Steampunk AI, a brain in a vat, a wordy intellectual Golem with gears and knobs. His AI can only be stopped by turning Truth into Death. For now, AI speaks gibberish in bots, and is good at proposing memories of your life, in case you forgot what it was like before. AI also makes good art, as we respond to its abstractions, playfully filling in the gaps, like lichen and moss filling the spaces between branches in a nest.

Now I input my Haeckel birds into Playform, trying to teach them colour, fluidity, grace. Haeckel drew his birds anatomically incorrect, to give them added mystic beauty and potential, offering subtle hidden forms of nature to the New Arts.  His birds exit Playform in new contortions- wings running into beaks, multiple heads, confused and fearful monsters. Melobytes AI converts one of their images to sound. A Tropical Cry, an Echoing Caw, a Truck, a Helicopter? This is life under shrieking speed, being chased by surveillance drones in a dream where there is no cause and effect, and the skyes don’t have time to blink.

There had been a moment there where it was all birds and nesting. I had “a bird’s eye view” someone said, down the tunnel of the old red Indian vase, where the parents perched, descended, guarded, flew out, hunted, returned and disappeared again. In lockdown, there were falcons feeding their kin pigeons on live webcams. Life was dramatically domestic as I cared for my clan in our human nest. If I had been starting to lose it, no one could know, not even me.

I call up Alan in Mexico. I learn about GANs, the Machine learns about nesting birds calling for food. Isolating the tracks, Alan inputs the chirping, cleans the noise, and reiterates. Together they transform bird cries into the static of an electricity wire, a morse code for nonhuman languages, the metallic tin rattling of Metaverse Transit. He does the same with Haeckel’s birds and the images Dance! Flying in rhythm with one another. From one form to the next, a fluid, graceful, “placement in a special way.”

When I first come in to sabl, Félix is in awe of my trunk full of styrofoam. He says “You’re CRAZY..” And I say, “I know!” I show him the other pieces of plastic I had collected, washed up on the Mediterranean shore. We go through them like ominous precious artefacts, admiring their elegance: withered pastel by the waves and sand, imprinted organically by Time and wind. The styrofoam and plastics are Hyperobjects from the Post-Anthropocene, passing through our hands as we witness their transversal trajectory. We are what Bratton calls a brief Threshold Condition around which they gather. I tell Félix I’m happy to find someone I can share these things with, and he says, “Yes but I wish other people could see them too.” I answer, “It’s our job to try to make them seen.”

Félix incrusts the walls of the cameras with my videos. He uses some drawn masks and luminosity changes. Sometimes as I move, I disappear into the walls, other times I can even hide objects there in plain sight, like the vacuum cleaner. Inside the room, of course, I can’t see the videos. Only blank claustrophobic reminders of lockdowns.

I rearrange the materials around me, dreaming worlds, and remembering:  I was tiny, building a city from emptied grocery packaging at my mother’s feet in the kitchen. In sables de rêve, I am nesting, incubating, and repositioning toward harmony.  Feeling eyes on me, I know I am existing and transmitting through multiple realities. Far from my original domestic setting, I am teaching myself how to reload it when I get back.

I watch the stream on The Shelf.  AI birds fly over train tracks, and documented birds grow toward their apocalyptic flight. Leaving one’s previous world is a form of death. I think about my own desire for that apocalypse. A fantasy of flight- to change view point, to fly away out of the room, to exit the rules and restrictions, to reposition my reference frame, to transcend. I think about the faceless viewers on the other side of the cameras- they are like the gods.

The bathroom at sabl is in the trees. It’s a thin forest, so I crouch and hide, only to find cars peeking back at me. Then I walk along the old wall, collecting fallen branches and leaves, more plastic garbage, and a wooden object that is clearly manmade but I have no idea what it was used for. I prick my fingers on green spiky seed things that fell from the trees and now roll down the hill. If I were Swiss I could probably give them a name, but I’m grateful for the slightest experience without the weight of labels. Through the urban woods I get back to my situational performance. Back to nest a secret physical space that is closed to the public, but that the public can view through the privacy of their own screens.  A space that is neither-and-also public nor-and private.

On hatching day, Jo brings his robotic spheres and his friend, Cédric. The rolling egg-birds will hatch their own worldsong. While they set up the camera for tracking the robots’ movements, I light the candles of the Data Center Sanctuary. The balls camouflage, rolling along my glitch-printed carpet. I say, “It’s hard to see them.” Jo says, “It’s because they come from the same planet.”

We reinforce the LED boundary of the nest, tying objects to branches, avoiding configurations the robots can use as ramps to escape. Cardboard masks, ghosts of packaged electronics, stare at us while we work, entangling rhizomes. A worldsong begins on the pigeons start cooing a rhythm over the clicking of tumbling bots. It’s only a couple hours after we left sabl, watching the stream, when I say,  “It’s hard to see them.” Jo says, “It’s because they’ve already left the nest.”

The abandonment feels uncanny and sad. It’s as if we are rejecting the work we have done, leaving our playroom. Construction blocks of styrofoam are balanced and airlifted in a precarious cumbersome dance. Objects are carelessly tossed into an Ikea bag. The industrial cleaner comes out of hiding, sucking up sand, plastic threads, dirt from the forest. We wipe the room down like criminals leaving no trace. We leave the vacuum cleaner center stage, turning off the video, turning off the lights. All that remains are the black torn masks of the surveillance cams. Apocalypse. Transcendence.


(…) large social groups function as fundamental metronomes for worlding - suggesting the rhythm to which one’s own metaphysical narration should adapt, if they wish to share a common historical time with their neighbours. (…) There is no time outside of the sound of a world-song.”
Prophetic Culture, Recreation for Adolescents, Federico Campagna, 2021


We are not ourselves the guaranteeing witness to the event; rather we are nested inside events which are nested inside other events, although we may (sometimes) be one of the threshold conditions that draws them together.” Spike Magazine, WITHOUT YOU, Benjamin H. Bratton, 2015


“For Intelligence, if it is Intelligence - in other words, if it is able to question its own basis -  must go beyond itself, though at first only in daydreams, only in the total disbelief and ignorance that it will sometime truly succeed in doing this. This is after all inescapable: there can be no flight without previous fantasies about flight.”
GOLEM AI Imaginary Magnitudes, Stanislaw Lem, 1981