Nikki Sheth

Bat Boxes

2 channel audio, sound installation, expanded sculpture, 4 minutes loop

Bat boxes, speaker stands, surface transducers, amplifier, laser cut balsa wood, willow, dried flora

This two-channel sound installation highlights the crucial role of bats in pollination and their inter-species dependencies. It uses field recordings of four bat species: Pipistrelle, Soprano Pipistrelle, Azores Noctule, and Greater Mouse-Eared Bat. As bats communicate with sounds beyond human hearing, the artist utilised specialised technology to capture recordings from around the world over a period of six months.

Nikki aims to raise awareness of nocturnal wildlife and inspire positive attitudes towards bats, countering the negative perceptions that arose from misinformation during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Currently, 16% of bat species are threatened, largely due to the loss of natural roosting sites. Man-made bat boxes can provide artificial roosts, especially in the UK where bats do not create their own. In this installation, bat boxes serve as speakers, surrounded by home-grown dried flowers and laser-cut floral panels, emphasising the importance of bats, pollination, and home. While birds and bees pollinate during the day, over 500 plant species rely on bats for night-time pollination. They are vital to our ecosystem’s health. Without them, there is no us.

This is the third work in a series featuring bat recordings, with an album release planned for 2025.


With thanks to John Lucy for laser cutting, field recording assistance and help with installation, Ila for all of the hours spent in the garden together and Milan for technical advice and workshop space.

Nikki Sheth is an internationally recognised sound artist and composer. Her work aims to give voice to the environment and foster a deeper connection with the natural world through field recordings, soundscape composition, spatial audio practices, multimedia installations and sound walking. She holds a PhD in Musical Composition from The University of Birmingham.

She has been nominated for Ivor Novello Composer Award (2021), awarded a Sound and Music Seed Award (2022) and winner of the Leah Reid Award from the International Alliance for Women in Music (2023). Her work has been presented most recently at The Royal Academy of Art (London), The World Forum for Acoustic Ecology Conference (Florida), Ars Electronica (Austria) and The Wellcome Collection (London). She has released with Nonclassical and Flaming Pines. She is currently in Queensland, Australia as selected artist for the R|Artist Residency: Natural Ecologies with The Refinery, SCCA and UniSC.