Sculptural choreography underpins my artistic practice; choreographing stories in bronze, choreographing movement, choreographing the sounds of nature. The outputs vary but the motivation remains the same. I want to move people, literally, figuratively.
Knepp #LoveScrubland collaboration
The skies lighten in the east, the dawn chorus erupts, the Nightingales serenade. It’s the 30 May 2021 and we’re in the heart of the scrubland at Knepp Estate. Before my eyes, something very powerful happens. Maria da Luz Ghoumrassi (pictured) responds to this extraordinary environment, captured in film by Olga Lidia Saavedra Montes de Oca. This forms part of my Knepp Residency.
Team: Maria da Luz Ghoumrassi (dancer and choreographer working through multidisciplinary arts); Olga Lidia Saavedra Montes de Oca (artist researcher); Hazel Reeves (multidisciplinary artist).
In my current project – Sculptural Murmurings – I’m experimenting, as a sculptor, with a group of dancers as my live and dynamic sculptural material, while challenging preconceived ideas of how dancers should look and move. Disabled and non-disabled dancers individually improvise yet move together, responding to bird-inspired soundscapes, creating unique human ‘murmurings’ shattering then resolving.
Cross-disciplinary team: Ian Currie, Maria da Luz Ghoumrassi, Helen Goodwin, Rosaria Gracia, Welly O’Brien, Hazel Reeves, Olga Lidia Saavedra Montes de Oca, Roz Shearn.
I am now Artist-in-Residence at Knepp Wildland, inspired by soundscape ecology, aiming to bring the Knepp story of hope to urban spaces. So, why birdsong? Two reasons: being brought up on a wild bird hospital as a child and easy access from my studio to the Knepp Wildland, known for its extraordinary wild bird population.
Creating birdscapes started in April 2020 with my audio Nightingale Diaries 2020, which turned stereo in May 2020 assisted by Arts Council England funding. They were featured on BBC Radio 3 ‘Sounds of the Earth’ and in The Guardian article ‘Lockdown awakened our interest in nature, but it mustn’t be at the expense of wildlife’ by Isabella Tree (December 2020).
Knepp Nightingale Radio
As part of my residence at Knepp I am obsessively recording one of the many success stories of this pioneering rewilding project – the resurgence of the beautifully sonorous nightingale. Access my livestreaming and recordings on the Knepp Nightingale Radio page.
On the first day of the second UK lockdown, 5 November 2020, I introduced a new #SpringBack series of audio diaries from Spring 2020 – there’s nothing like birdsong to soothe the soul, so for those who miss it or missed it, here’s spring back for you, to lighten the dark evenings. For all of them see here.