30 May 2010
Whispering in the Leaves - Dawn 
Chris Watson's sound installation Whispering in the Leaves premiered at Kew Gardens yesterday.

The ex-Cabaret Voltaire man made a brief introduction to the assembled crowd about the concept behind the recordings (officially a "sound installation that immerses visitors to Kew Gardens’ Palm House in the dawn and dusk choruses of the Central and South American rainforests"). Basically the 3 hours round dawn and, similarly, round dusk, are condensed into two twenty minute pieces. He explained that the volume was intended to be as if you were there in the rainforest. So the quiet bits were quiet and the thunderclaps really loud.

He encouraged everyone to walk as he did the first performance (of Dusk) live rather than watch him twiddle the knobs. This is highly recommended as it is all multi-channel with various different effects emanating from the 80 different speakers. It was very good and in the general steaminess of the Palm House it was very atmospheric.

Future performances will presumably be played from tape and the companion piece Dawn will play in the morning on the hour.


Kew Gardens

29 May – 5 September 2010

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