Can a community art project using sound improve the environment and reduce anti social behaviour? Read how Feonic’s surface speaker audio technology can transform a street simply by playing birdsong gently from shop windows. The best community art project ideas need to please the senses but also provide tangible benefits to the people in the environment. This project was designed to please the senses but had a surprising side effect: anti social behaviour around the shops involved was reduced. People of all ages were happier being a little bit closer to nature. And all without aggressive discriminatory sound that only younger people can hear.
Nightingale Birdsong Sound Installation designed to change atmosphere of town’s High Street
When entering Margate’s High Street, visitors are today greeted by the captivating tune of a Nightingale’s song thanks to an innovative project by sound installation artist, Robert Jarvis. The community art project is designed to help change the ambience of the Kent-based high street. Which was recently profiled following its selection as a ‘Portas Pilot’ regeneration project by Mary Portas. To date the project has been well received by both visitors to the town and traders.
Funded through the Canterbury Festival’s Prosper Together initiative, the ever-changing birdsong comes from small ‘invisible speakers’ from Feonic Technology that Robert Jarvis installed in six shop windows. The innovative Whispering Window technology converts the glass window pane into a speaker, making the song audible to passers-by.
Turning Windows into Speakers
Robert Jarvis was keen to explain how it works; “With the Feonic technology turning windows into speakers, it is not obvious to passers-by as to where the bird song is coming from. It therefore entices listeners to search and relate to the surrounding area in a different way. Between the six shops, the bird song is fully synchronised, creating the illusion that the nightingales are calling out and responding to each other throughout the day. Their musical song is heard off and on along the whole of the High Street, and to great effect, spreading cheer to passers-by.”
Comunity Art Project Leads to Reduction in Anti Social Behaviour
reports of a decrease in anti-social behaviour and also an increase in new conversations as customers and traders talk with each other as they smile and together look for the birds
Continues Robert: “Having heard about the Mary Portas project in Margate, I knew it was a community that would be receptive to new ideas. I looked at it from the point of view of ‘what is the smallest thing you can do, that makes a big difference’, and I felt that introducing calming bird song to the street would make a big impact. I have already received feedback that the area has seen a change, including reports of a decrease in anti-social behaviour and also an increase in new conversations as customers and traders talk with each other as they smile and together look for the birds.”
There is something very uplifting about birdsong
Local music teacher and a shopper in Margate, Lorraine Spiro, was quoted as saying, “There is something very uplifting about birdsong. It’s natural and doesn’t compete with the thoughts in your mind. There are so many applications for this: schools, playgrounds; the more places you look, I can’t see where it wouldn’t be useful to be honest.”
Added Brian Smith, Feonic’s Managing Director: “This is a fantastic installation that showcases just how our Whispering Window invisible speakers can really bring a project to life. The Nightingale sound art installation brings a real feel-good-factor to Margate, making passers-by smile and perhaps now, when people are thinking of what route to take through the town, it might encourage more to walk through the high street to take in the charming sound of the much-loved Nightingale.”
For further details regarding the Feonic range of invisible audio products, telephone +44 (0)1482 806688 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on Feonic Technology being used in a community art project, and other similarly innovative ideas, is available at www.feonic.com/sound-installation-art or via Twitter @Feonic.
For further information on Robert Jarvis’ sound installation projects, visit http://www.robertjarvis.co.uk.
French StreetWaves Project
‘Vitrines Sonores’ installation for the City of Lens. Approximately eighteen shop window fronts create a sonic diversion for visitors to the town, more details can be found on this blog ecoutezlens.wordpress.com
And watch a youtube video showing the drives being installed. English and French language.
Singing Windows has been shortlisted for ‘The Culture Awards’ for work in East Kent with regards to the installations that were up in Thanet on behalf of the Prosper project.