Nestbox Radio

Installation view at St Mary’s Churchyard, Elephant & Castle, 2016

Nestbox Radio
Sound installation and performance, 2016
Playback audio: loops of varying lengths, mini-FM transmitters, radio receivers.

Nestbox Radio was a series of site-specific installations and a performance made in collaboration with Khaled Kaddal.

Taking Sally Ann McIntyre’s narrowcasting experiments and the Superb Lyrebird’s ability to mimic man-made and machine sounds as inspiration, Nestbox Radio reflects on the forever-changing landscape of Elephant & Castle, the impact of construction on local residents, as well as our relationship with nature.

Once known to Londoners as the ‘Piccadilly of the South’, Elephant & Castle suffered heavy bombardment during the Second World War. Following the conflict, much of the area was razed to the ground before becoming an emblematic example of post-war architecture, urban design and town planning.

Buildings like the former Heygate Estate provided housing solutions for thousands of local residents. Even though it was considered an eyesore immediately after its construction, the estate served as a staple for the community.

Now that Elephant & Castle is going through another regeneration (and rebranding) scheme, in the guise of Elephant Park, we would like to take this opportunity to creatively engage with land that has seen a multitude of layers coalesce atop of it.

We have sourced sounds generated by the constant activity surrounding the former Heygate Estate, evoking the lyrebird’s mimicry in the process. These recordings include environmental and incidental sounds, as well as interviews with local residents and tradespeople. Each voice professes a different opinion of the local landscape and its persistent regeneration. These sounds have been largely left unedited and placed inside wooden birdhouses, or nest boxes, and broadcast via short range FM radio transmitters.

Nestbox Radio was installed at the Artworks Elephant (2 March 2016), St Mary’s Churchyard (16 March 2016) and IKLECTIK (16 – 29 May 2016).