XR Endangered Birds Central London Takeover


15 April 2019
18:30 - 19:15 (UTC +01:00)


Central London location, to be announced

hosted by

Extinction Rebellion UK

Come one, come all and participate in a DIY polyphonic multichannel musical flash mob in central London during International Rebellion. We will stream multiple parts of a piece of music composed by Cosmo Sheldrake, a wake-up call made entirely out of recordings of the songs of endangered British birds. Using only smart phones and battery powered speakers, participants will come together to create an infinitely scalable multipoint sound system. Collectively, in the heart of London, we will summon the sounds of the rapidly dwindling bird populations of Britain, and drown out the urban noise with birdsong..

To take part you will need:
– A smartphone / streaming device
– A portable battery powered speaker such as a MiniRig or UE Boom (make sure it is charged!).
– A cable to connect your device to the speaker. This is essential: we will be streaming different parts of the same piece of music, and bluetooth connections will result in a lag, meaning the parts won’t be in sync.
– If you don’t own a portable speaker you can still stream it just on your device, but it won’t be as loud.
– To download the app which will be issued prior/made available on the day (watch this space)

We will meet – incognito – at a time and place to be announced on this page, and at a prearranged time connect to the website and stream the wake up call.

More than a quarter of birds in Britain are in danger of becoming extinct or are facing steep declines in numbers. According to surveys by the BTO populations of turtledove have dropped by 95% since 1995, the willow tit by 85%, the cuckoo by 50%, and the starling by 53% to name just a few. Many of the birds that are being added to the ever-growing red list were once incredibly common. This peaceful collaborative musical happening will drawn our attention to these shocking findings by invoking songs that are becoming increasingly rare.

Cosmo Sheldrake has teamed up with app designer and software developer Sam Oakley to create a website (soon to be an app) that makes it possible to stream the music in many parts. We will provide a QR code to direct participants to the website and we will also share a link in advance. You will be able to select a section of music to play. The website will also direct you to underrepresented parts.

Cosmo Sheldrake is a London-based multi-instrumentalist musician, composer and producer. Much of his work is inspired by soundscape ecology, nonsense and play.

More detailed instructions to come soon, watch this space.

This is part of series of cultural and arts events happening during International Rebellion and International Rebellion UK – Shut Down London! beginning 15th April. We are in the midst of ecological and climate emergency and will not rest until the Government wakes up to it. To find out more visit https://rebellion.earth


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