GULL
SPIT



Sounds from an open microphone on The Spit of South Walney Island.

The streambox operates continuously, sending real-time sounds to the Locus Sonus soundmap.




Over the Summer and Autumn of 2017, SOUNDCAMP spent 2 weeks on South Walney Island, and listened remotely to sounds of The Spit, at its southern tip, via a live streambox installed above the beach.

Imagined as a pilot for a possible extended residency programme, an aim was to explore the island's relationship to the city of Barrow across the bay. While Barrow is typically associated with heavy industry, we were intrigued by the statistic that it has a larger area of nature reserves per capita than any other UK region.

Work from this first phase was shown in Barrow Market Hall from 27 to 28 October 2017 as part of the Full of Noises Festival. Gull Spit included field recordings, video, writings and a pop up radio station relaying live feeds from The Spit, along with three other locations where streamboxes were installed for the occasion.



Full of Noises - Gull Spit - Announce

Gull Spit - Programme

South Walney Island Seal Cam - live feed from The Spit (off limits to visitors)

Tides

Live stream page



Listening notes

The streambox is located on a shingle spit at the Southernmost tip of South Walney Island, facing the Atlantic ocean across the bay from Barrow-in-Furness. The beach supports a distinctive flora including the rare Walney Geranium (G. sanguineum var. striatum). In Autumn, Grey seals can be heard. In Autumn and Spring, hundreds of thousands of waders pass through on migration. Many also Winter on the mudflats. From mid April the island it is home to a large colony of gulls, which nest close to the microphones. Sandwich terns, eiders and other waterfowl and waders (Curlew, Redshank) can be heard from the water and the beach. The box sits on a small concrete plinth above the tideline. At different times the unfiltered feed may be very quiet or loud. It may include distortion from high wind, and digital artefacts of the remote transmission.




Transmitting Turbulence

The wind shakes the wind clears and I see/hear the synapses
The wind proposes and the wind moves a flock of birds continuously (12:43)
[Monday 2nd of October 2017 12:37]


South Walney Radio is a fragile undertaking: a chain of receivers hanging from the ceiling, spitting out fragments of the spit, occasional outbursts of cow hums and flocks of birds carried around by the wind. A low-power transmitter and an antenna serve as a Totemic presence to signify the invisible thresholds of transmission. I have not yet been to Walney island. It is all a reconstruction of turbulent remote encounters..

Read more from South Walney Radio: Transmitting Turbulence by Maria Papadomanolaki.



Project

The stream was developed through the first phase of an artists residency coordinated by Octopus Collective and Soundcamp and hosted by the CWT Reserve on South Walney.

Work from this first phase was shown in Barrow Market Hall from 27 to 28 October 2017 as part of the Full of Noises Festival. Gull Spit included field recordings, video, writings and a pop up radio station relaying live feeds from 4 steamboxes installed on the island for the occasion.



Technical

The streambox was installed by Andrew Deakin (Octopus) and Sarah Dalrymple (CWT) on 7 April 2017. It uses a Raspberry Pi with Cirrus Logic soundcard, running V 3.1 of the streambox software developed by Stef Cousot at Locus Sonus and others. It includes the live audio streaming software Darkice, an open source project by Ákos Maróy and Rafael Diniz.

The box uses a Teltonika RUT950 4G router with an external antenna on a mast, to connect to an EE telecommunications tower across the bay. It is built of reclaimed ply with a rubberised coating and and overhanging slate roof to provide mass and weather protection for the microphones in an exposed site. A design based on a nucleus for bees or small vernacular building recalls the Greek root: oikos (house) in 'ecology'.


Credits

SoundCamp
Octopus Collective
South Walney Nature Reserve
Cumbria Wildlife Trust
Locus Sonus


Supported by

Arts Council England












The Spit   Drawing by Sam Baraitser Smith