#dawnchorus is a series of live, collaborative writing performances that respond to place. They are written on Twitter, producing a distinctive poetic form. The performances reinterpret birdsong at dawn, which is often understood as a vocal defence of territory: a way of redrawing boundaries after the cold night when many perish. Our performances are created from tweeted responses to a performance ‘score’ and timed by the three phases of twilight that lead up to sunrise.* The work is an artistic intervention into Twitter and its relationship to public space, geography and identity, and is performed by the SAW collective alongside contributions from the general public.

#dawnchorus was devised by Natasha Vicars and first developed by SAW in 2011 with support from the Live Art Development Agency and Text Festival, Bury. Performances have since been commissioned by Vox Populi in Philadelphia (2012), by the National Trust’s London Project, by Fermynwoods Contemporary Art and by Art:Language:Location (all 2013).

* A note about dawn:
Dawn begins every morning at the first presence of weak sunlight and ends at sunrise. Like dusk, it is a time of twilight. Dawn is divided into three phases according to the amount of light present. Astronomical Twilight begins when the sky is no longer completely dark; Nautical Twilight begins when some objects become distinguishable; Civil Twilight begins when visibility is sufficient that outdoor activity can begin. The duration of these phases varies throughout the year. Dawn is briefest in mid winter and longest in mid summer, when astronomical dawn lasts all night.

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