Fl-utter- ances began life as a public arts research project aimed at developing a method of creating a rhythmic vocal response to the sound of bird song in our public spaces. Using the phonetic description of bird sounds that are found in field guides members of the public were invited to experience their local open spaces with fresh ears during "Listening Walks" led by Jane and an expert in the local environment. Then using the phonetic descriptions of the songs of the birds identified at the site Jane and the participants co-devise a series of performance poems which explored the possibility of sound to translate the ephemeral elements of our everyday landscapes & soundscapes.
During July, August and September 2016 Activate commissioned Jane Pitt to work with participants from Cherry Tree Plant Nursery in Bournemouth who were part of the Sheltered Work Opportunities Programme (SWOP) for mental health service users. The Fl-utter-ances project developed at Cherry Tree with a group of 10-15 participants and, as they were hesitant about the performance aspect of making sounds themselves, Jane adapted the project so that beautiful sound maps were drawn instead of recording their sounds. Fl-utter-ances was described by the participants from Cherry Tree as being particularly beneficial for their mental health:
‘I think a lot of us have really enjoyed the opportunity just to sit and listen to sound. With mental health, you get inundated with negative thoughts, negative though processes but this has helped me… you can tune into positive things and get a good feeling from that.’ Anita – Cherry Tree
‘When I was first told about the project I wasn’t really sure but I have to say it was very interesting. Getting out and listening to the trees, birds and wind. I now look forward to seeing the sound map created. Julie – Cherry Tree
‘It was a delightful commune with nature and humanity. Full of life, peace, happiness and nature’s beauty.’ – Annette, Cherry Tree
Jane also led walks with members of the public at The Inside Out Dorset festival.
The project documented and recorded the results so that there was a visual and aural legacy. The results of the documentation were displayed in an exhibition at Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre October – December 2016.
2017 sees Fl-utter-ances develop even further with two projects currently under development. Both overseen by Activate Producer, Wendy Petitdemenge.
Cherry Tree have expressed a desire to continue the methodology of listening & drawing the soundscape as they found it beneficial on various levels. With this project we will develop their listening and drawing/mapping practice led by Jane Pitt, develop their creative response the their environment and devise a series sensory experiences for them, led by both Jane Pitt & Lorna Rees.
A suggested framework is to work the sessions in a seasonal cycle Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring 2017-2018 . Enabling participants to make work that maps the changes in the whole environment due to Bird Migration/mating/song, insect lifecycles, flora & other fauna & allowing profound engagement - starting with a walk along the Stour from Cherry Tree to Kingfisher Barn. Sessions for Jane & Lorna to share practice and research will be built in to the framework as these will also inform part two ..all these sensory episodes will inform Part Two.
Will translate the process of Part One into activity and experiences for audiences at IOD Sept 2018.
The activity can have several strands and levels of access; walks, print & audio:
The work with Cherry Tree will be distilled into print and audio formats. For example a printed pamphlet that audiences can take away as a beautiful souvenir but that they can also use over time for self-led walks. The content also recorded in a 15-20min format with descriptive voice and field recordings for short range radio transmission at the festival, that the audience listen to on small transistors. It could be a downloadable podcast for future use.
A series of 'performative' walks led &/or curated to be fascinating by Jane & Lorna, which could include a trans-disciplinary element by collaborating with disciplines such as: BSL Signer; Cognitive Scientist with interest in sonification of the environment; Naturalist; Sound Recordist...
further information: firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact Cherry Tree Nursery: http://www.cherrytreenursery.org.uk/