Chris Watson. Photo credit: Kate Humble
Chris Watson. Photo credit: Kate Humble





The Nimbus Group has created a new free immersive sound app featuring Chris Watson’s (BBC Natural History Unit/Cabaret Voltaire) precise and stark sound recordings of the natural world. Launching at Lighthouse as part of Brighton Digital Festival this September, the event will include live samples of the app performed by Chris Watson.

Nimbus takes the sounds of the natural world and, by using experimental approaches to sound art, makes available the unobserved, but heard, lives of animals in their natural environments.

Using technology – a tool that increasingly polarises humans from the rest of the animal kingdom – Nimbus encourages users to listen to and consider life, beyond the visual and auditory din of sales pitches and tannoy announcements, and the everyday grids of streets, schedules and spreadsheets.

Carina Westling of The Nimbus Group, which collaborated with Chris Watson to create the app, explains: ‘We wanted to use technology to remind us of our position within an elemental and geological framework in an experiential and accessible way. Using sounds from the natural world, chosen precisely because of their strangeness and distance from a picture postcard view of the animal kingdom, we have created a sonic artwork inviting immersion in Chris Watson’s unique perspective: beautiful and devoid of human sentimentalism around the culture/nature construct."

Nimbus is a rolodex of sounds and sonic games, including:

• the sound of a zebra carcass being eaten by vultures from the inside
• a game that allows users to navigate their environment using the sounds of electro-magnetic north and south
• a sonic game that is only unlocked when the user is travelling at the speed of a hawk diving to its prey – terminal velocity in human terms.

About Nimbus collaborators

Nimbus is a collaboration between The Nimbus Group, Chris Watson and Touch.

The Nimbus Group
The Nimbus Group is a collective of three creative professionals, who have come together to create novel, moving and innovative creative projects.

Carina Westling is an independent experience designer, working with digital and live media, designing interfaces and writing for web publication. She is researching the influence of materialities on systems across immersive theatre and digital media.

Jamie Wyld is a creative professional working with film, digital culture and visual arts; he is curator of moving image platform videoclub and director of This is Wyld, developing national and international projects.

Peter Pavement is the founder and managing director of Surface Impression, a graphic design and web development company specialising in work for museums, arts organisations, education and charities. Peter also speaks at conferences and contributes to heritage and arts events.

Chris Watson
Chris Watson is one of the world’s leading recorders of wildlife and natural phenomena, and for Touch he edits his field recordings into a filmic narrative. For example, the unearthly groaning of ice in an Icelandic glacier is a classic example of, in Watson’s words, putting a microphone where you can’t put your ears. He was born in Sheffield where he attended Rowlinson School and Stannington College (now part of Sheffield College). In 1971 he was a founding member of the influential Sheffield-based experimental music group Cabaret Voltaire. His sound recording career began in 1981 when he joined Tyne Tees Television. Since then he has developed a particular and passionate interest in recording the wildlife sounds of animals, habitats and atmospheres from around the world. As a freelance recordist for film, TV & radio, Chris Watson specialises in natural history and documentary location sound together with track assembly and sound design in post-production.

Since its first release in 1982, Touch has created sonic and visual productions that combine innovation with a level of care and attention that has made it the most enduring of any independent company of its time.

Nimbus is available for free download from 10 Sept, at:

Date: Wednesday 10 September 2014
Times: 6.30-8.30pm
Venue: Lighthouse, 28 Kensington Street, Brighton, BN1 4AJ
Entry: Free, please book your place here

Nimbus is part of Lighthouse’s programme for Brighton Digital Festival 2014. Brighton Digital Festival is a month long celebration of digital culture. It is run by members of Brighton’s arts and digital communities and supported by Arts Council England and Brighton & Hove City Council.

Nimbus Footer BDF 2014



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