Margate high street gets the sweet sound of nightingales

The atmosphere of a seaside town’s high street has been changed forever, as everyone who now enters the street in Margate will be greeted with the captivating sound of the song of the Nightingale. This ingenious innovation has has been made possible thanks to Robert Jarvis, a sound artist.

He originally launched the problem with the aim of improving the ambience of the Kent street, and it was recently highlighted when it was chosen to be part of Mary Portas’ regeneration scheme known as ‘Portas Pilot’, and it has been well received by both locals and visitors.

Funded through the Canterbury Festival’s Prosper Together initiative, the ever-changing birdsong comes from small ‘invisible speakers’ from Feonic Technology that Robert Jarvis installed to six shop windows. The innovative Whispering Window technology converts the window panel into a speaker, making the song audible to passers-by.

Robert Jarvis was keen to explain how it works; “With the Feonic technology turning windows into speakers, it is not obvious to passers-by as to where the bird song is coming from. It therefore entices listeners to search and relate to the surrounding area in a different way. Between the six shops, the bird song is fully synchronised, creating the illusion that the nightingales are calling out and responding to each other throughout the day. Their musical song is heard off and on along the whole of the High Street, and to great effect, spreading cheer to passers-by.”

Continues Robert: “Having heard about the Mary Portas project in Margate, I knew it was a town that would be receptive to new ideas. I looked at it from the point of view of ‘what is the smallest thing you can do, that makes a big difference’, and I felt that introducing calming bird song to the street would make a big impact. I have already received feedback that the area has seen a change, including reports of a decrease in anti-social behaviour and also an increase in new conversations as customers and traders talk with each other as they smile and together look for the birds.”

Local music teacher and a shopper in Margate, Lorraine Spiro, was quoted as saying, “There is something very uplifting about birdsong. It’s natural and doesn’t compete with the thoughts in your mind. There are so many applications for this: schools, playgrounds; the more places you look, I can’t see where it wouldn’t be useful to be honest.”

Added Philip Jarvis, Feonic’s CEO: “This is a fantastic installation that showcases just how our Whispering Window invisible speakers can really bring a project to life. The Nightingale art installation brings a real feel-good-factor to Margate, making passers-by smile and perhaps now, when people are thinking of what route to take through the town, it might encourage more to walk through the high street to take in the charming sound of the much-loved Nightingale.”

For further details regarding the Feonic range of invisible audio products, telephone  +44 (0)1482 806688 or email info@feonic.com. More information on Feonic Technology is available via www.feonic.com, www.whisperingwindow.com or via Twitter @Feonic.

An audio report regarding the project can be accessed here: http://www.whisperingwindow.com/newsstore/Nightingales-in-Ma….

For further information on Robert Jarvis’ sound installation projects, visit http://www.robertjarvis.co.uk. To find out more about the Prosper Together project, visit www.prospertogether.co.uk.