Tuesday 25 July 2023, 8pm
Hermione Spriggs in collaboration with mole catcher Nigel Stock
Field recordings & sound design with Jez riley French
Earth Swimmers lends its ears to the tricks and techniques of a mole catcher in North Yorkshire. The film attends to forms of land-based practice and ecological understanding that remain hidden in plain sight, and to the strange allegiance between hunter and prey. Tactics are shared and exchanged between mole catcher and filmmaker, asking thorny questions of what it means to track, to capture, to hear and to feel beyond one’s own species perspective. Probes, feet and worm-charming instruments grant access to the mole's vibratory world, enticing the viewer into alternative ways of sensing and knowing the earth.
Postnatural Supernatural, Falling Birds and Liquefactions
Helena will present film, poetry and sound works from her recent projects Postnatural Supernatural and Falling Birds (2022), along with a reading of Liquefactions (2023), a current work in progress. Postnatural Supernatural blends poetics and sound with film to consider tree spirit beliefs within rural communities of the Philippines and how these intersect with colonisation, deforestation and bird decline. Falling Birds asks what songs extinct and endangered birds might sing, how we might hear their stories and what their representation in museums hides and reveals. Helena will read poems and present films developed during her residency at the Horniman Museum, working with extinct and endangered birds in the Natural History Collection. Liquefactions are a series of poetic experiments developed in a scientific laboratory observing and writing with microalgae through a microscope. These poems incorporate photographic images, visual poetry and critical reflections on how science sees and scales.
Mark Peter Wright
The Sound Hunter
Mark Peter Wright will perform the presence of a sound hunter, a character that operates in the margins of audibility, often discerned through the slightest of movements; the shuffle of feet or husk of breath. Playful, critical and absurd, the work mixes live and pre-recorded sound, voice, actions and amplified materials. It highlights the overlaps between hunting and preservation and the paradoxes of power embroiled in the desire to capture, archive and compose place and its more-than-human inhabitants.
Music and Other Living Creatures is a series at Cafe OTO (curated by OTO Projects) dedicated to music about, with, or by other living creatures. Birds, tigers, chickens, insects and many other living creatures are explored through sound-walks, listening sessions, commissioned performances, live responses and discussions.
EnCOUnTERs is a series of inter-disciplinary events that reside at the intersection between inter- and intra-species encounter and the sonic imagination. Events direct attention to curiosity, the speculative as well as the scientific, and to notions of multiplicity of being, experience and philosophy surveying creative and research-based practices that reference aspects of ecology, ethology and other creature-ologies, bioart and bioacoustics, sound/scape studies, zoömusicology, ethnobotany, critical plant studies, and related fields.
EnCOUnTERs is curated by Helen Frosi (SoundFjord).
Hermione Spriggs is currently doing practice-based PhD research with a focus on rural pest control in North Yorkshire, asking how hunters communicate with animals and exploring the relevance of a hunting attitude to environmental art practice. She hosts the collaborative project the Anthropology of Other Animals (“AoOA”), which explores the hidden links between 'craft' and 'being crafty’. Current projects include learning to echolocate with an eight-person choir, an ongoing inquiry into the nature of attention with community of practice ESTAR(SER), a public art commission for Kings Hedges Cambridge and a nomadic series of animal tracking workshops with collaborator Tamara Colchester.
Currently based between London and Yorkshire, from 2010-2014 Hermione lived in California whilst studying for an MFA in Visual Art at UC San Diego. Spriggs has recently worked with Sheffield Docfest, CCA Glasgow, Arts Catalyst and greengrassi (London). Her edited volume Five Heads: Art, Anthropology and Mongol-Futurism is published by Sternberg Press. Hermione co-convenes COLLEEX, a European network for Ethnographic Experimentation. She is a member of the Arts Catalyst advisory group, a returning artist-in-residence and fellow of Mildred's Lane, and a member of the Social Morphologies Research Research Unit and the UCL Multimedia Anthropology Lab.
Helena Hunter works at the intersections of visual art, poetry and science to investigate the critical ecologies of environmental change. Her practice involves sites and subjects, combining field and laboratory work, archival research and collaborative practice with environmental scientists and communities. Her recent video work Postnatural Supernatural was exhibited at LUX Moving Image (2022) and published in The Contemporary Journal, Nottingham Contemporary (2023). Her project Falling Birds was exhibited at Gasworks in the group show Over everything which exists under the sky (2019) and was presented as a solo exhibition at the Horniman Museum in London (2022). Helena has published her poetic writing in MAP Magazine (2023) Ed. Daniela Cascella; APRIA (2022); Reliquiae, Corbel Stone Press (2020); Alterity (2019) Ed. Richard Skelton; MAI Journal (2019) and Something Other (2019). Her art and writing are featured in Posthuman Ecologies, edited by Rosi Braidotti and Simone Bignall, Rowman & Littlefield International (2019) and Investigating Cultures of Equality, Routledge (2022).
Helena has a collaborative practice Matterlurgy with Mark Peter Wright; their work intersects art, ecology, science and technology and operates across multiple platforms, including installation, performance and sound. Their artworks have been presented at Wellcome Collection, Tate Modern, Whitechapel Gallery, John Hansard Gallery, BALTIC, The Showroom, Arts Catalyst, ICA, MIMA and Gazelli Art House.
Mark Peter Wright is an artist-researcher working at the intersection of sound arts, experimental pedagogy and critical theory. His practice investigates relations between humans and animals, geographies and technologies, observers and subjects. Working between the field and lab, site and gallery, he is committed to amplifying forms of power, poetics and play within the creative use of sound and documentary media. Wright has exhibited and performed internationally. His book Listening After Nature is published by Bloomsbury, 2022.