Dawn Chorus

Marcus Coates

Archive Exhibitions (3 April to 25 May 2015)
For this Spring 2015 exhibition we worked with Brighton Festival to co-present Dawn Chorus by Marcus Coates.

Dawn Chorus was an immersive multi-screen film installation that used unique digital methods to explore the relationship between birdsong and the human voice, and similarities between bird and human behaviour.
Nineteen individual singers uncannily recreated birdsong and bird movement. Together they formed a chorus that accurately simulated 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 was as much a portrait of British people and their daily habits as it was of the natural world.

Dawn Chorus was produced in 2007. 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 kindly loaned the work. This presentation of the work was co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

Where possible we highlighted other Brighton Festival, RSPB, BLDB and Sussex Wildlife Trust events alongside our own specially programmed exhibition events where we felt they would add insight, knowledge or enjoyment to your experience of Dawn Chorus.

About The Artist

Marcus Coates lives and works in London.

At the core of Marcus’ work is a relationship to the unknowable. From his attempts to become animal to his vicarious experiences on behalf of terminally ill patients he seeks to uncover degrees of understanding and knowing, testing our definitions and boundaries of autonomy.

He devises processes to explore the pragmatism and insight that empathetic perspectives and imagined realities can offer. He explicitly addresses a need to create functional and inclusive languages where conventional strategies of understanding and rationalisation prove inadequate.

The form and purpose of his work continues to develop in consideration to society’s needs which he responds to by working with individuals, communities, institutions, organisations and the general public. In this way he sees aspects of his art practice as a necessary and pragmatic service.

Marcus has collaborated with people from a wide range of disciplines including anthropologists, ornithologists, wildlife sound recordists, choreographers, politicians, gallerists, curators, psychiatrists, palliative care consultants, musicians, primatologists amongst others.

Arts council england
Brighton festival
Brighton and hove city council
Creative europe 2
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