The Congregation

Commissioned by Arts By The Sea, this multi-channel interactive installation appeared at St Peter’s in central Bournemouth for one week from Friday 25th September.


The south entrance has morphed into a living forest with hundreds of creatures calling out to their kind, in chorus, reacting to each other and to visitors of this space. The 24 channels and speakers provide a spatial experience to help us remember the sonic wonder of a living forest.

For millenia, humans lived in vast forests, surrounded by countless creatures. Our modern lives are largely empty of this sonic vitality. Most of the sound we hear is our own. Our noise and our development has silenced much of the living world, and we miss it.

This artwork takes inspiration from Bernie Krause’s book ‘The Great Animal Orchestra’. Like instruments in an orchestra, animals in a forest occupy different sections of the spectral space. Each has its own unique call, which fits perfectly into the collective expression and can be heard through it.

It wasn’t until deep into this project that I realised St Peter’s church is the resting place of the celebrated writer Mary Shelley. Shelley spent a lot of time here but also in Bagni di Lucca, Italy. Bizzarely, this is where Jake Cartwright, my co-creator has lived for 12 years!

A huge thanks to Laura Basevi, who created the canopy. And to Jake Cartwright, who helped me create the physical installation.

Special thanks to Tim Kahn for his wonderful nature recordings, absolutely integral to this work.

THANK YOU to Heli Kaikula who created the image for this project, the one at the top of this page. Heli painted it with water colour, perfectly capturing what this installation is about.

Many thanks to Liam Birtles, Saint Peter’s Church and Jane MacDonald Styslinger, and of course Arts by the Sea.

Where is it?

St Peter’s is on Hinton Rd, Bournemouth BH1 2EE

Parking is available on Hinton Rd, or at the Central car park.