Marcus Coates: 'Dawn Chorus' FABRICA, Brighton, UK
Image: Marcus Coates, Dawn Chorus, 2007, 14 Channel HD Video Installation, Commissioned by Picture This, UK and funded by Wellcome Trust. Courtesy of the artist and Workplace Gallery, UK. Installation view Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, Photo: Colin Davison
Dawn Chorus is an immersive multi-screen film installation that uses unique digital methods to explore the relationship between birdsong and the human voice, and similarities between bird and human behaviour.
Nineteen individual singers uncannily recreate birdsong and bird movement. Together they form a chorus that accurately simulates the sounds and timings of a natural dawn chorus. With each singer depicted in an everyday location: an underground car park, an osteopathic clinic, a bedroom, a bathtub, Dawn Chorus is as much a portrait of British people and their daily habits as it is of the natural world.
Artist Marcus Coates worked with scientist Peter McGregor who specialises in birdsong and animal behaviour, and notable birdsong expert and wildlife sound recordist Geoff Sample. To record the dawn chorus they used a unique method to capture the individual birdsongs and their inter-species song timings. By predicting where individual birds would sing and through trial and error they recorded 14 individual songs simultaneously. Thereby creating an accurate document of which species of birds sing in relation to others at what time in the morning. They recorded at three different sites in Northumberland between 3am and 9am over seven days using a 24 track digital recorder.
Dawn Chorus was originally commissioned and produced by Picture This in 2007, premiered at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead and was financially supported by the Wellcome Trust. It is part of the Arts Council Collection at Southbank, who have kindly loaned the work.
This exhibition of the work is being co-presented with Brighton Festival 2015.
Birdsong represents this other world, this other world of nature that we're always looking for the key to unlock, and birdsong for me is a way into this other world, this non-human world that we feel like we don't understand. -Marcus Coates
Workplace Gallery is a contemporary art gallery run by artists.
Based in Gateshead UK, Workplace Gallery represents a portfolio of emerging and established artists through the gallery programme, curatorial projects and international art fairs.