UPDATE 04/2020 : Now available online; https://www.marcuscoates.co.uk/projects/172-conference-for-the-birds
From 15 June a new installation by artist Marcus Coates will be on show at Cherryburn, the birthplace of Thomas Bewick. Commissioned in partnership with the National Trust ‘Conference for the Birds’ is the final artwork in the ‘Mapping Contemporary Art in the Heritage Experience’ series.
As the project’s sound technician, I visited the Cherryburn site to make field recordings and impulse responses before recording the seven ornithologists, including Geoff Sample and Helen Macdonald, at Culture Lab. Post-production for the seven-speaker sound installation with Marcus was completed earlier this week.
Marcus’s project celebrates the lives of the birds Thomas Bewick depicted in his wood engravings. Bewick’s book ‘A History of British Birds’ first published in 1797 was a comprehensive guide to both the appearance and behaviour of birds. In ‘Conference for the Birds’ we hear seven different bird species discussing their lives with each other. The birds, played by wildlife experts, discuss topics from migration to predation, with each species speaking about the challenges they face day to day.