Nightsniffing is an artistic research project seeks to reimagine urban bat walking as a way to collectively investigate the systems that shape the London and other UK cities. The project combines methods from critical making, mobile sonic art and art/science in order to engage different publics with bats, digital systems and planning procedures in novel ways. It takes as its field the complex relations that bats have with cities and human society, including environmental relations, the figuring of bat’s interests in the UK planning system, how bats inhabit and use the built environment and the role of bats in community alliances against development. Engaging with the technologies and methods that make bats perceivable, Nightsniffing stages walks and events in London that allow different conversations to emerge regarding who and what are cities are for, and how we might wish for them to function differently.
- What potentials could critical making and mobile sonic art have for deepening public engagement with bats?
- And what can these fields learn from ecological and conservation practices?
- What are the possibilities for, and the value of, sensory and emotive engagement with alienating bureaucratic and digital systems that nevertheless have signficant effects of communities of humans, bats and many other forms of being?
The project has three stages. The first is an investigation of bat walks and surveys using biomapping - using physiological sensors and recorded sound to elicit accounts of what people feel and experience while looking for bats. The second is to investigate systems that affect the built environment, attending to how the interest of bats and other beings and communities coincide and come into conflict. These will be combined in the final stage to create the novel electronic contraptions and methods of walking to bring together the concerns of different communities of living beings in the city with the systems that might care for, disrupt or harm them.