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Image of the Week: The Making of Dawn Chorus

6 May, 2016


As part of Wellcome Collection’s new exhibition, THIS IS A VOICE, artist Marcus Coates has been participating in Voicings, a programme of performances and demonstrations taking place each day in the gallery.

His installation in the exhibition, Dawn Chorus, shows people mimicking birdsong while going about their morning routines. Visitors who come to the exhibition this weekend can see people doing this live – although hugely slowed down to allow the bird sounds to be replicated by human voices.

This offers participants the chance to enter the realm of a bird’s song from a unique perspective. Once slowed down, the hidden dynamics and rhythms start to appear. The songs become human in scale and within our reach, asking us to examine our relationship to these strange vocals, how they compare to our own, and what this says about the voice as a form of expression across species.

Dawn Chorus was funded by a Wellcome Trust Arts Award back in 2007, so today’s image is a film about how it was made. You can see Dawn Chorus in THIS IS A VOICE at Wellcome Collection until 31 July 2016.

Credit: The making of Dawn Chorus, 2007, Marcus Coates

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