In 2000 as part of Year of the Artist Coates came to Allenheads to produce new work in the environment of the high fells. However, government restrictions on movement on public land due to Foot and Mouth led Coates to work with people in their homes and gardens.
Coates created Local Birds a video work exploring parallels between the song of native birds and human communication, literally enabling members of the community to sing like a bird.
The production process used pre-recorded birdsong which was digitally manipulated so that its pitch corresponded with that of the human voice.
The altered (slowed down)
birdsong recordings were then mimicked (sung) by performers and filmed.
The video recording of the human version was speeded up to the original bird pitch creating accurate replicas of a birdsong by human voice.