Installations & Performances

The Nomadic Nights, Fondation Cartier | Paris July 2016 – January 2017

Monday, September 5th at 8 pm
Imaginary Journeys to the Elephants’ Graveyard
With Carlos Casas, Chris Watson & Joyce Poole

Walk through the exhibition spaces and in the garden (screening, installations, conference, concert)

Duration: approx. 1h15

Carlos Casas’ movies are at the crossroad of documentaries, fictions, visual and sound arts. For this Nomadic Night, the Catalan filmmaker has chosen to bring the audience inside the making of his next film entitled Cemetery, a visual and aural experience inspired by the mythical elephants’ graveyard. At once an action movie, an experimental film and a science-fictional documentary, Cemetery is a sort of initiatory trip, an acoustic Noah’s arc paying equal tribute to Tarzan and to La Région Centrale by Michael Snow.

During this Nomadic Night, conceived as an exclusive insight into this project, spectators will engage in a quest for aural and visual remnants of the mythical graveyard using photographs, drawings and research documents pertaining to the film. The event will be punctuated by a conference on the language of elephants and by a concert inspired by the film’s soundscape.

With the exclusive participation of Chris Watson during one concert – founding member of the post-Punk band Cabaret Voltaire in the 1970’s, sound recorder for “Life” the BBC documentary series by Sir David Attenborough, he is one of the main figures of field recording today.

With the intervention of Joyce Poole, researcher specialized into the social and cognitive behavior of elephants and cofounder of the NGO “Elephant Voices”.

No assigned seats.

Le Fondation Cartier

Compass at Cheeseburn | Newcastle 27 – 29 August 2016

Compass is a brand new sound installation from world renowned wildlife recordist Chris Watson and acclaimed Northumbrian poet Linda France. Specially commissioned by Cheeseburn, and located in four different places around the grounds, visitors are invited to listen to a lightly orchestrated soundscape of birdsong, wildlife, weather and original poems – each composed to the specific setting, the time of day and the season.

Chris Watson and Linda France visited Cheeseburn frequently over one year to create this exciting new installation, where a world riven with migration and change finds a compass in the sense of soon itself, the poetry of everyday listening. Visit the Formal Garden, The Courtyard, The Potting Shed and the Stable Loft to experience Compass this August Bank Holiday weekend.

Aichi Triennale 2016 | Japan August 2016

Homo Faber: A Rainbow Caravan

‘The Great Circle’ is an Ambisonic sound installation taking the audience on a journey from Northumberland to Aichi overland via a Great Circle route.

The Santa Rita Concerts | 24th February 2016

24 February 2016, 19.00

The Little Museum of Dublin
15 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin

An evening with Chris Watson, one of the world’s leading recorders of natural phenomena. The evening begins at 7pm with a Santa Rita wine reception and pre-concert interview with the performer. The performance begins at 8pm sharp. Tickets €13 pre-booked; €15 on the door.

For tickets and info

Kukemura Ambient Festival | 8th August 2015

Järva maakond, Estonia

An ambient music festival in a forest somewhere in Estonia. Chris will be doing a long (90min) late night set of a deep ocean piece ‘Mare balticum – Narva Wall mix’.

You can read reviews here in Kultuur and in Rada7

Live at Port Eliot Festival | July/August 2015

July 30th – August 2nd, 2015
St. Germans, Cornwall

Chris Watson will be presenting ‘Dusk ’till Dawn’ in the Round Room 1000h-1100h Saturday and Sunday. Sunday at 1630h he will be presenting ‘Caught By The River Coquet’ with John Andrews at the Caught By The River marquee.

Tuning In – Listening Back in Time

Chris Watson & Tim Shaw
DECODED 1914-1918

Tuning In – Listening Back in Time is a reconstruction of time distant voices and personal accounts of events on Tyneside during the First World War. The work will be presented using period audio technology in a science and technology basement store…

An Evening of Silence | FuseArt, Bradford 28th January 2015

7pm Doors open

730pm Introduction by Mike Harding. Chris discusses his work on the film, Silence,
and plays uncut recordings he made for the movie on location in Berlin

815pm Break

830pm Screening of the film “Silence” (87 min)

10pm Questions and close…

The Foundlings Hospital Dawn Chorus | 25th September 2014

The Dawn Chorus installation will be live from Thursday 25 September until early January at the Foundling Museum.

Renowned wildlife sound recordist and 2014 Handel Fellow Chris Watson, and young care-leavers from London, recorded the sounds of the dawn chorus on the site of the original Foundling Hospital. Inspired by the genetic link today’s birds have with those that sang here for the eighteenth and nineteenth century foundlings, Watson’s installation links past and present through a poetic meditation on the spirit of place.

This piece was recorded in the green and residential areas that surround the Foundling Museum. Watson and his young team recorded throughout the night, ending the session on Sunday 4 May, International Dawn Chorus Day.

A New Age of Surround Sound | Surrey University 16th October 2014

A new age of surround sound: spatial audio at the frontiers of contemporary art, technology and science

Professor Tony Myatt – Inaugural Lecture with special guest performer, Chris Watson
Prof Tony Myatt presents a lecture, illustrated with spatial audio demonstrations, about the concepts, art and practice of contemporary spatial audio. Tony will discuss loudspeaker technologies, recording, live performances and presentations, in the context of contemporary audio practice and will illustrate his unique methods of perceptually informed sound spatialisation, based on the creation of information-rich sound environments.

Following the lecture, Tony will be joined by one of the world’s leading recorders of wildlife and natural phenomena, Chris Watson, to present a post-lecture, live, multi-spatial surround sound performance.

The event will conclude with a drinks reception. Free but ticketed…

“To close your eyes was to lose yourself in a virtual environment of birds, church bells, foxes, distant road traffic and the ever present aural horizon of the sea.” (The Guardian)

Hrafn: Conversations with Odin


24 – 26 October 2014
Kielder Water & Forest Park, Northumberland

“If men had wings and bore black feathers, few of them would be clever enough to be crows.” The Reverend Henry Ward Beecher

Hrafn: Conversations with Odin is a sound installation that presents the remarkable and seldom-heard phenomenon of ravens gathering to roost.

Set in Kielder Water & Forest Park in Northumberland, the audience will be led at twilight on a short walk into the deepest part of the forest. Along the way their guides share ancient raven lore, the natural history of a talismanic creature, and the beginnings – and the future – of the forest they have entered. Participants settle down in the deepest part of the wood, and as darkness falls, they will hear the sounds of two thousand birds arriving in the canopy overhead to begin their conversations.

Hrafn: Conversations with Odin is composed by Chris Watson and produced by Iain Pate. It is commissioned through Jerwood Open Forest, a partnership between Jerwood Charitable Foundation and Forestry Commission England.

For full details and tickets, please visit
@HrafnRoost #JOF2014

The Whale: an Exploration | 20th September 2014


10.30–18.00 20 September
National Maritime MuseumGround floorLecture Theatre
Fee: £10 | £7: Members and concessions
Event type: Lectures & talks

A unique day-long event of celebration and investigation, in the company of award-winning writers, artists, film-makers and specialists in cetacean studies and conservation.

Navigating the fluctuating human relationship with one of the ocean’s most remarkable and threatened creatures, Philip Hoare (Leviathan, The Sea Inside), sound-recordist and composer Chris Watson (Life, Frozen Planet), former whaler and Greenpeace activist John Burton, Mark Carnall (Grant Museum, UCL) and other leading scientists join acclaimed artist film-maker Jessica Sarah Rinland for a multi-faceted voyage into the extraordinary world of the whale.

Taking place in the week of the International Whaling Commission’s biennial global meeting, the event will consider the challenges facing current whale populations while also tracking their energising presence in literature, film and music.

Curated and presented by Jessica Sarah Rinland and Gareth Evans.

Image: detail of: ‘The Spermacaeti whale brought to Greenland Dock 1762’. Repro ID: PY3459. Copyright: NMM, Greenwich, London

Inside the Circle of Fire | Port Eliot Festival 24th – 27th July 2014

A sound map of Sheffield via its famous river systems and concluding in the Megatron

Full line up

Jerwood Open Forest

Semiconductor (Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt) and Chris Watson collaborating with producer Iain Pate have been awarded two major commissions totalling £60,000 through the inaugural Jerwood Open Forest initiative.

The announcement was made at Jerwood Space, London on 11 February 2014 by selector and artist, Tania Kovats. The selected proposals will be produced and realised within England’s Public Forest Estate, continuing a national conversation about how contemporary visual artists engage with the environment today.

To find out more about Jerwood Open Forest and follow the progress of the two winning commissions visit

Handel Fellow at the Foundling Museum

The Foundling Museum has announced the appointment of the 2014 Foundling Fellows, joining the Fellowship in the 10th anniversary year of the Foundling Museum in London.

They are:

Artist Cornelia Parker, named as Hogarth Fellow
Poet Lemn Sissay, named as Coram Fellow
Musician and sound recordist Chris Watson, named as Handel Fellow

Each Fellow will undertake a project for the Museum with special relevance to children, inspired by the principles of philanthropy and creativity of the great founding figures of the original Foundling Hospital, Thomas Coram, William Hogarth, and George Frideric Handel.

Chris’s project celebrates International Dawn Chorus day on 4 May 2014 and will see Chris work with young people to record the dawn and evening chorus of birds, as well as other sounds, in the local area around the Museum. His idea is to compare the sounds of today with the sounds of the Foundling Hospital estate in the 18th Century and we hope to find out if the wild and urban sounds the foundlings heard in then are different to today. The work will be edited and turned into a sound piece. The final piece is intended to be played on radio stations, including Resonance FM, and will be exhibited in the Introductory Gallery at the Museum.

Slow University ll | Durham 11th March 2014


12:00 to 16:15, Lindisfarne Centre, St Aidan’s College, Durham

The second inter-disciplinary seminar in the SLOW University series is organised in collaboration between: the School of Applied Social Sciences, the Ustinov Seminar Series and the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS). The SLOW movement promotes a socio-cultural shift towards slowing down the pace of work, life and consumption and providing a counter narrative to processes of globalization. Chris Watson’s SLOW sound walks [in seminar one from palace Green to Ustinov College] enabled a slowing down and tuning in to the signature sounds of the spaces and places along the route.

It is clear that these lines of thinking, dialogue and creative application are gathering momentum. The purpose of the second seminar on the SLOW University at Durham [that will then travel to other collaborating Universities] is to harness these dialogues and ask – What does it mean if we take a look at the University and our relationship to as academics and researchers in relation to time, speed and SLOW? What new philosophies, practices, structures and governance might emerge?

Cryptic Night | Glasgow, March 6th 2014

Mirror Lands is a film and sound installation exploring diverse relationships to place on The Black Isle in the Highlands of Scotland.

Venue: CCA, Glasgow
Date: 7 – 9 March, 2014
Time: Friday – Saturday: 11-6pm Sunday: 12-6pm


Thursday 6 March / 20.00 / £5 / Screening and Q&A with Cathy Lane and Chris Watson

Installation: Free
Booking: Book Tickets here

Hy Brasil Opera North | Leeds February – March 2014

The isle is full of noises

Howard Assembly Room, Opera North, Leeds
Friday 28 February to Saturday 15 March
2pm – 8pm (runs on a 30 minute loop)

Open to the public Tuesdays – Saturdays

Hy Brasil is a mysterious, enchanted island, hidden in fog somewhere off the coast of Ireland. It reveals itself to human eye and ear just one day every seven years. This specially commissioned work by sound artist Chris Watson (BBC TV’s award-winning Frozen Planet), brings that day on Hy Brasil to life in an immersive sound installation.
Hy Brasil is composed of compelling wildlife sounds from around the world, drawing visitors deep into the haunting song of seals and the awe-inspiring shrieks of thousands of Manx shearwaters. With glorious ambi-sonic sound and beautiful lighting, lose yourself in the strange and magical world of Hy Brasil.

Supported by the Opera North Future Fund, The Emerald Foundation and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

Audio equipment supported by Pro Audio

Watch | The Sage, Gateshead 16th March 2014

Dunstanburgh Diamonds

This new commission by Chris Watson captures the voices and rhythms locked inside the Dunstanburgh Diamonds, presenting an ambisonic soundscape of Embleton Bay, from Low Newton to Dunstanburgh Castle in Northumberland. These ancient black dolerite stones are part of the Great Whin Sill, which lies exposed along parts of the coast whilst the surrounding landscape has been eroded around it. Countless tides have shaped the Whin Sill into smooth boulders that murmur, groan and growl with each passing ebb and flow. This new composition extracts the spirit of historic events and memories that have been stored in the stones for generations.

This event is part of the Digging for Sound weekends of new commissions, concerts and walks focusing on the geology, topography and mining legacy of the North East England landscape.

Searching for Diamonds | AV Festival March 2014

These sound walks with Chris Watson explore the particular sounds stored along Embleton Bay, which have informed his new Festival commission. The guided walks will begin at Low Newton and end at Dunstanburgh Castle in Northumberland.

The new commission captures the voices and rhythms locked inside the Dunstanburgh Diamonds, from Low Newton to Dunstanburgh Castle. These ancient black dolerite stones are part of the Great Whin Sill, which lies exposed along parts of the coast whilst the surrounding landscape has been eroded around it. Countless tides have shaped the Whin Sill into smooth boulders that murmur, groan and growl with each passing ebb and flow. The new composition extracts the spirit of historic events and memories that have been stored in the stones for generations.

This event is part of their Digging for Sound weekends of new commissions, concerts and walks focusing on the geology, topography and mining legacy of the North East England landscape.

£5, limited capacity
Sat 15 March and Sat 22 March 2014
Sat 15 March 2014, 9am
Sat 22 March 2014, 9am

Low Newton Carpark
Meet at car park at
Low Newton-By-The-Sea
Northumberland NE66