Photo of Clifford HammettClifford Hammett
School Tutor


Nightsniffing is an artistic research project that seeks to create field methods to engage with the hidden systems that shape the city, taking account of both its human and non-human inhabitants. Taking inspiration from detectors and other tools used to find and study bats, it will create walking techniques and technologies that combine the exploration of urban wildlife with an interrogation of the systems and structures that shape the city, from its centre to its periphery. These systems can be anything from a housing database, a planning permission process or a stock market algorithm. The project will explore how they could be implicated in sites of spatial contention, such as areas of regeneration, the demolition of social housing or demand for construction on green spaces.

Rather than viewing community, economy, ecology and administration as separate or competing concerns, it will produce creative techniques to engage with their entanglement. Starting from co-research with London activists into data systems and investigations of techniques from bat ecology, artistic field devices and methods will be developed for public art walks. The project will thus employ methods for overcoming the inaudibility of our bat co-habitants to articulate deeper systems underlying urban change and contestation. By enabling exploration of these systems in the places and environments they affect, it will seek to open them up discussion between people from different disciplines and different walks of life, promoting understanding and the imagining of alternative ways to live with others in our cities.