Follow the Voice, 2009

.grid .col.col‑2 <br/​> .col.col‑4 Gala Bingo .col.col‑4 Coal tit .col.col‑2 <br/​> grid.

.grid .col.col‑2 <br/​> .col.col‑4 Asda toi­let door .col.col‑4 Hump­back Whale .col.col‑2 <br/​> grid.

.grid .col.col‑2 <br/​> .col.col‑4 Office Tele­phone .col.col‑4 Tree crick­et .col.col‑2 <br/​> grid.

.grid .col.col‑2 <br/​> .col.col‑4 Tesco check­out .col.col‑4 Bit­tern .col.col‑2 <br/​> grid.

.grid .col.col‑2 <br/​> .col.col‑4 Ped­es­tri­an cross­ing .col.col‑4 Great tit .col.col‑2 <br/​> grid.

.grid .col.col‑2 <br/​> .col.col‑4 Primary school play­ground .col.col‑4 Starlings .col.col‑2 <br/​> grid.

.grid .col.col‑2 <br/​> .col.col‑4 Shop­ping centre lift .col.col‑4 Lin­net .col.col‑2 <br/​> grid.

.grid .col.col‑2 <br/​> .col.col‑4 Police Siren .col.col‑4 Green­finch .col.col‑2 <br/​> grid.

.grid .col.col‑2 <br/​> .col.col‑4 Office print­er .col.col‑4 Scops owl .col.col‑2 <br/​> grid.

.grid .col.col‑2 <br/​> .col.col‑4 Boys on street .col.col‑4 Night­jar .col.col‑2 <br/​> grid.

Fol­low the Voice, 2009

HD Digit­al video, 16:9
10:45 min
Filmed in Shrews­bury, UK
Wild­life Sound Con­sult­ant: Geoff Sample
Cam­era and sound by Bevis Bowden
Addi­tion­al record­ings by Geoff Sample
Video post-pro­duc­tion by VET
First screened in Shrews­bury Unit­ary Chapel
Com­mis­sioned by Film and Video Umbrella and Shrop­shire Museums Services

Fol­low­ing Darwin’s insights into the inter­con­nec­ted­ness of spe­cies and a play­ful echo of his book, The Expres­sion of Emo­tions in Man and Anim­als (1872), this video estab­lishes par­al­lels between a range of famil­i­ar man-made sounds recor­ded in Darwin’s birth­place, Shrews­bury, and a chor­us of anim­al cries and bird calls. The urb­an sounds are sped up and slowed down to loc­ate the point at which they closely resemble the sounds of the anim­al calls. An an office print­er slowed down to 9 per cent of its ori­gin­al speed reveals a tone that matches the fre­quency and dur­a­tion of the call of a scops owl; a police car siren sped up 800 per cent is very sim­il­ar to a sec­tion of a song sung by a green­finch; the ‘ beep’ of a Tesco super­mar­ket check­out when slowed to 10 per cent takes on the qual­ity of the rare bit­tern call; and the toi­let doors in Asda, when opened and closed slowly, are acous­tic­ally close to hump­back whale calls. 

In response to see­ing him film­ing in the high street, Coates explains that a man across the street shouted at me, turned around, dropped his trousers and slapped his but­tocks’. This sound, slowed down to 10 per cent, is very sim­il­ar to a night­jar wing clap: a sound this bird makes as part of its ter­rit­ori­al display.

First screened in Shrews­bury Unit­ary Chapel (the church Dar­win wor­shipped in as a child).

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