Kaffe Matthews (b.1961, Essex; lives London) is a composer and
sound artist who regularly makes and performs works live throughout
the world. She also creates sonic and interactive sculptural forms,
for example Sonic
Bed_London in which a visitor lies, at once hearing and
feeling specially made music move all over their body.
Before becoming an artist Matthews studied zoology. She chose to view the Galápagos primarily from the ocean, diving with and filming hammerhead sharks. The wonder of these prehistoric creatures and their perilous conservation status encouraged her to focus her research on their patterns of behaviour. During two weeks at the Charles Darwin Research Station, she met with local fishermen and scientists and was introduced to the California-based research programme continuing through the marine conservation project Migramar. In 2011 she went to UC Davis, California, to meet the team of researchers who use acoustic tracking devices to follow hammerhead sharks through the Pacific.
Matthews has used this data, generously supplied by the scientists, to create a three-dimensional sound work that evolves in relation to the sharks' movements through the deep waters. She describes it as 'a piece whose melodies, rhythms, noises, chords, filters and processes are driven by the daily patterns of their movement, the underwater conditions and topography'. Matthews also made underwater recordings which she used in a music-making workshop on Isabela Island to encourage schoolchildren to develop a greater sense of the sound world around them. Since the Galápagos, much of Matthews' work has been based in outdoor environments.