A Dawn Chorus At Cheeseburn
26 August 2017 – 3 September 2017

This exhibition was inspired by listening to the Dawn Chorus at Cheeseburn – a choir of sixteen birds heard early one morning in May 2016. Together their songs, represented here variously as digitally manipulated sonograms and musical transcriptions, form the basis of this show of screen prints, music, digital prints, relief sculpture, poetry and glass. Please click the play button below to listen to the sound piece that accompanied the two silkscreen prints. 

Please click the play button below to hear the sound piece that accompanied the Dawn Chorus Glass Chandelier. For details about how the sound pieces were created, see the the PDF catalogue download to the right of this text. 

Imitating with the mouth the fluid voices of birds
came long before men were able to sing together in melody and please the ear. 

Lucretius (94-55BC): De Rerum Natura

The idea for Singing the World arose from a series of conversations between painter Siu Carter, musician and composer Bennett Hogg, artist and printmaker Alex Charrington, natural history sound recordist Geoff Sample and myself about music, art and bird song.

The installation gradually grew to encompass not only the Dawn Chorus, but also that liminal time between night and the dawning of a new day (represented by Ayako Tani’s glass chandelier in the Hayloft), as well as the more spacious and ‘laid-back’ Evening Chorus at Cheeseburn. Bennett’s musical piano and electroacoustic compositions developed accordingly as our discussions progressed.

I am grateful to my colleague Andrew Richardson for his sonic relief transcriptions of individual bird song and to the poet Jake Campbell for composing new lines about the dawn chorus that weave culture with nature, reflecting and complementing the approach taken by each of the artists in this show. 

If you haven’t done so before, I hope this exhibition encourages you to get up early one morning in May or early June to experience for yourself, the joy of listening to the dawn chorus as it develops and grows over two to three hours from around 4.30 am in the morning. It is an experience you won’t forget.

Singing the World is dedicated to the memory of my dearest friend Siu Carter, who died suddenly and unexpectedly on Tuesday 15th August 2017. Siu was a constant support throughout the making of this show. She is irreplaceable.

Mike Collier August 2017