Artist Commission - Fiona Benson and Mair Bosworthcommission
Six Insect Love Songs
Poet Fiona Benson and radio producer and sound artist Mair Bosworth are collaborating on a series of six sound art-works about insects, each with a poem at their heart.
"We are working on insects within the theme of 'urgency' for two reasons. Firstly, insect populations are in massive decline, and we need to find ways to understand and protect their habits and habitats. Secondly, insect behaviour itself is often marked by urgency – they sometimes have very brief windows of time in which to breed and reproduce, and this pressure results in some spectacular behaviours.
Drawing on the expertise of entomologists based at the University of Exeter and further afield, the interest and wonderment of nature-lovers and children, and the insights of people intimately involved in the lives of insects such as river keepers and fishers, we are gathering interviews and audio recordings to weave some beautiful sound pieces that celebrate these endlessly fascinating creatures. We also hope to record the noises that insects themselves make – the boom-box racket of cicadas to the chafing of crickets.
We will be travelling in Devon and Cornwall, Hampshire and further afield to the Smoky Mountains in the USA, to bear witness to insect emergences and behaviours. From the amazing synchronized light display of fireflies to the mass emergence of mayflies; from the strange cartridges the caddisfly larvae builds in its infancy to the failing song of an ageing cricket; and as a final stumbling block to all this glory, the sinister world of the mosquito, we will witness, and listen, and write you our love songs."
Mair Bosworth is an award-winning radio producer and sound artist whose radio documentaries have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and the World Service. She is series producer of Radio 4's contemporary poetry series The Echo Chamber She is Curator at In the Dark, a pan-European audio collective set up to champion storytelling in sound, organising communal listening events in special locations and taking the Radio Cinema to festivals.
Click here for Mair Bosworth's Soundcloud page.
Fiona Benson is an award-winning Devon-based poet. Her poetry collection, Bright Travellers, shortlisted for the prestigious T.S. Eliot Prize in 2015. Her latest poetry collection, Vertigo and Ghost, has been recently published.
Image: River bug copyright Fiona Benson