Nature Late at the Horniman Museum & Gardens

As part of the Museum Lates last week, the Horniman Museum & Gardens conducted a unique, interesting and eventful evening that tickled all the senses. Visitors are pleased to have a variety to experience, including concerts in the Gallery Square throughout the evening, live street graffiti art, live typewriter art in the gallery currently host to Taxidermy Is Dead (Long Live Taxidermy) exhibition, as well as much more all centred around the natural flora and fauna theme.

Beginning in the gardens, visitors’ ears are called to attention by Jony Easterby’s Audible Forces sound installations. Inspired by birdcalls, the installations are created by various wind-powered kinetic sculptures that light up intermittently creating an atmospheric environment, both audibly and visually. As visitors venture further in to the gardens, they are drawn up towards the bandstand that emits deep vibrating sounds that resonate into the dark sky. From this height, there is a fantastic view of the city through the innovative installation that is erected in the bandstand. This sound installation Stress and Stone embodies raw, natural components; two large feathers of a bird that pluck thin wires that are held taunt harnessed to the ground by two large, smooth pebbles. The result is extremely poignant as the effect of the installation is greatly added to by the twilight mood and dramatic backdrop of the city.

Continuing into the Garden Pavilion, the audience are invited to take a seat and watch Secrets of Nature – Sounds Unseen, a series of early-cinema, silent short films accompanied by specifically composed electronic music by Metamono. This show has been put together with the support of the BFI, National Media Museum and British Council with the aim of revitalising a wonder of nature, as well as creating a new collaboration between the old and modern. Electronic music is created live by analogue electronic sound generation and processing by the musicians, which bizarrely correlates with the original black and white British filmography dating back to the early 1900s. It is a fantastic chance to experience this unusual marriage in addition to discovering intriguing aspects of the natural world.

The highlight of the evening however, is the beautifully mesmerising dance performed by the James Cousins Company, in the most exquisite setting of the glass Conservatory, constructed with a gorgeous design and lit by the twinkling lights of the night sky. An extremely talented and compelling duo successfully captures the attention of the audience with an extract of their current production There We Have Been. Bestselling novel Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami has greatly inspired the choreography of this performance, and the emotional journey of the complications in relationships evoked in the novel is dramatically and powerfully relayed to the audience by the dancers. All in all, the events of the evening were diverse, enjoyable and memorable.

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