Eco-Opera

Nature. Amplified.

blue tit perches on a wooden perch with tuned guitar string attached
4 cows pulling faces over a fence with perspex audio-recording tube in foreground
a jackdaw balances precariously on a long wire above a bird feeding table

Eco Opera is a set of bespoke musical instrument sound installations that are ‘played’ by wind, rain and animals.

In a world where our senses are flooded, Eco Opera hones in on the sounds of nature and presents them in a new way, using innovative techniques to amplify normally inaudible noises.  Animals are allowed to play their own tune and everyday sounds are transformed into music.

Eco-Opera is a co-creation by Hazel Palmer and sound-artist Graeme Leak

Amplified Fence

The amplified fence is 50m of high-tensile wire. Contact microphones are fitted on the end posts. The slightest touch activates a complex and resonant inner sound world. Seed trays attract, among others, magpies, crows, jackdaws and rooks. An amplified wire was used to create the sound effect for Star Wars light sabres – ‘piu piu’.
 

 

Sonic Tube

The sonic tube amplifies and transforms sound. Random and seemingly chaotic sounds enter the tube as noise but blend and soften through the harmonic filter of the tube itself. Birdsong, insects, aeroplanes, people, sheep, cows…in fact, everything becomes calm, meditative music.


 

Bird Feeder

The bird feeder is fitted with guitar strings for birds to ‘play’. Visitors include, among others, all manner of tits, nuthatches, pigeons, pheasants and woodpeckers. Melodies and rhythms abound as the birds peck, flap and strut their way across the strings and perches. Contact microphones reveal a rich inner sound world.

 

 

 

Originally called EweTube, this project originated as six four-hour episodes, streamed live in 2020 as a part of ​ZOOTV‘s online Edinburgh Festival programme. The last episode is available HERE4.5 hours of gentle, deep listening, perfect to dip in and out of as you work.

Eco-Opera is now being produced by Scissor Kick and developed internationally in collaboration with Australian sound artist Patrick Cronin, with joint funding from Australia Council for the Arts and Creative Scotland.

New recordings will take place simultaneously this Spring/Summer at locations in the UK and Australia, working with the local communities of Balfron in Scotland and Girgarre in Victoria, and in partnership with Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria and Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

These recordings will take place ‘as live’ to then be broadcast online, as well as being made available for presentation in a gallery context.