Nattsong: Conversation in the Dark


Date: 2 December 2021

Caroline Bergvall in conversation with Sukhdev Sandhu and Áine O’Brien | Thursday 2 Dec 2021, 6.00-7.30 pm GMT | Online | 50 mins + 30 mins open chat and Q&A | Ticket: £5 or Pay What You Can |


What is found to have been lost
Made lost to stay lost
If findings carry losses
carry findings of losses
being found lessens losses
lightens what is carried

The performance of Nattsong at Turner Contemporary marks the culmination of award-winning poet and artist Caroline Bergvall’s Sonic Atlas cycle of live works and their research into languages, landscapes, timezones,  conversations, and writing in context.

Ghostly and spacious, Nattsong takes an immersive journey into refuge-seeking language sites; through the somatic and elemental connections of languages, their losses and challenges, often burdened by brutal nationalist or expansionist agendas, the inherently lived interdependence of beings and the wisdom voices at the heart of foundational texts and transhistoric times. Here following the alarm call of the Nordic prophetess’ epic Voluspå. Collaborators include: Jamie Hamilton, Gavin Bryars, Peyee Chen, Andrew Delaney.

Sonic Atlas began with the outdoor sunrise work Ragadawn (2016) and closes at the end of 2021 with the dark and nocturnal circulating and dispersed  voices of Nattsong.

Watch the full live stream here:

50 mins, unedited live stream


2 Dec 2021



To celebrate the completion of this long-standing and complex series of works, I am excited to announce she will be joined in conversation with two wonderful speakers: cultural thinker, writer and Guardian critic Sukhdev Sandhu and curator and co-founder of Counterpoints Arts Áine O’Brien to reflect on aspects Nattsong, and the significance of night-time, and voyaging in the dark of our deeply agitated times.

Sukhdev Sandhu has a unique voice, a rich palette of concerns ranging from music, literature to chasing personal trails to the northern textile industry or looking for the nocturnal workers of London. He is the author of London Calling: How Black and South Asian Writers Imagined a City, I’ll Get My Coat, Night Haunts and Other Musics. He also directs the Colloquium for Unpopular Culture at New York University and runs the Texte und Töne publishing imprint.

Áine O’Brien is a singular and generous curatorial presence in the UK. She is co-Founder of Counterpoints Arts, London and its Curator of Learning and Research. Her productions span documentary film, print, exhibition and curation, exploring global storylines linking migration with human rights and social change. A forthcoming co-edited book is Art, Migration and the Production of Radical Democratic Citizenship (2021).

The structured conversation will last for approx. 50 minutes. It will be followed by a 30 minute open conversation and Q&A with the audience.

In conversation they will explore common themes and ideas, that run through her cycle Sonic Atlas and ave emerged over the course of this six-year cycle, including displacement and migratory properties of language, writing through multiple languages, water and sounds, regional and translocal bonds, collaborative modes, writing in context, and the value of communal exchange..

Specific to Nattsong, they will question the dark as a sign of gestation, insights, intimacy and also deep fears that enable the re-emergence of ancient collective archetypes, and art’s role as a collectivist wake up call. Diving into the unknown of the night at this time of collective upheavals provides a timely reminder of the need for marking a pause, as well as for opening up both to new imaginaries and perhaps other ways of doing things. How does one transform oneself and one another pro-actively in the face of deep changes?


Sonic Atlas is a series of works dedicated to sounding multiple languages, their migratory and historic paths, and respond creatively to both ancient and contemporary  poetry by writing and performing in unusual and transformative landscapes and settings.

It follow a circadian cycle. It started with the sunrise performance  Ragadawn moved into the afternoon and evening with the cross disciplinary conversation sound-work Conference of the Birds, went online during lockdown with the collaborative writing event Night & Refuge (2020) to come and close with the live and streamed performance Nattsong at the tail end of 2021.

These works and performances form companion pieces, written and created for spoken and sung voices, breath patterns, electronic sounds and are always set up site specifically to address on site questions of communal dislocations and new regional make-up. Each work also shares materials and concerns developed from conversations with speakers and poets from a wide range of minoritised languages, and their historically aware and contextual practices.

To watch edited versions of these works, please scroll down.



Outdoor sunrise performance for 2 voices

Fleeting forms
take on adore
Alight a brightest
guided life
Ghost to ghost
amar unmoors




Conversation-performance for 1 host, 6 speakers, migratory birds and treated songline


Greetings! To each of you,
and of each of you more than you know,
and more of you than I know,




Collaborative writing event between 5 conversing poets

Let’s start here,
in dark times is there relief
at in-between hours

17 mins



Recorded conversations with language workers

Passengers we are passages we are

Short recorded conversations with poets, language workers, language warriors of various language and cultural sources have taken place as Language Stations since 2016. Their pretext was to start by translating one phrase into source language to be used as a refrain in the performances. Their generosity and insights have made it possible to stretch and deepen the works’ many contexts and linguistic landscapes. These are ongoing. A conversation around Standard Arabic with Palestinian-born visual artist and performance artist Mays Albeik has just taken place. My deep gratitude to all.

Travelling Pieces & Places

Photo credit: Thierry Bal


Creative & Production Teams

Wonderful artists, musicians and poets have lent their dedication, talent and skills to the making of Sonic Atlas’s different manifestations: composers, sound artists, singers Gavin Bryars, Jamie Hamilton, Rebecca Horrox, Verity Susman, Dan Scott, Peyee Chen, Ana Beard Fernandez, Rob Blazey, Ceara Conway, Ben Corrigan, Nick Thurwell, poets, writers, translators, Vahni Capildeo, Leo Boix, Will Harris, Nisha Ramayya, Nathan Jones, Zoe Skoulding, Angharad Davies, Karen Owen, Rhys Trimble, Vala Thorrods, David Wallace, Clyde Ocarno, Adam Chodzko, Cherry Smyth, Shadi Angelina Bazeghi, Aurelia Lassaque, Jessie Kleeman, Edwin Torres, Erin Moure, Mandla Rae, Gunnar Waerness, Alba Cid, Ismael Ramos, Monica Acosta, scholars Marina Warner, James Smith, David Wallace, Clare Lees, Valentina Castagna, Julian Weiss, Francesca Manzari..
– and others still ongoing

Production partners have worked to ensure the site-specificity of each project: Atlas Arts (skye), Actoral/MUCEM (Marseille), Estuary Festival (Tilbury), Salt Festival (Bodø), Festival de la Batie/Musee de la Croix Rouge (Geneva), An Taibhdhearc (Galway), The International Literature Festival (Dublin), Versopolis (Pan-European online poetry network), Planet P (Berlin), Whistable Biennale (Whistable), Essex Cultural Diversity Project (Chelmsford), Oslo International Poetry festival (Oslo) and for Nattsong’s premiere Cement Fields (Kent), Turner Contemporary Gallery (Margate), Rivers Institute for Contemporary Thought & Art (live synchronous stream/New Orleans) and Protoype (UK).

And thank you to our audiences who inhabit the work and create its purpose