Local Birds, 2001

Digital video, SD 720 Ă— 576 4:3
08:09 min
Filmed in Allenheads, Northumberland, UK
Performed by Angel Porteous, Stuart Walker, Maria Curwen, Alan Smith, William Bell, Christine Doxford, Laurie Short, Victoria Cruz
Camera and sound by Marcus Coates
Produced by Allenheads Contemporary Arts

During a residency in Allenheads, a small rural village in the north of England, Coates asked residents to mimic the slowed down recordings of birdsong common to the area. They were filmed in their homes while singing along to these sounds.

The filmed footage and audio was then digitally sped up to the tempo of the original birdsong. As a result, the resident’s voices were transformed into birdsong. The film also emphasizes unconscious gestures that now, when sped up, appear uncannily similar to the physical movements of the birds.