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    Calling the Birds II (2010)  
Projected dvd and installation Trocadero Art Space Melbourne AU October 2010  

4’45” looped dvd projection (also available here)

This work builds on Calling the Birds from 2009

Using field recordings and text-based dvd projection Calling the Birds is part of an exploration into our mixed relationship with common noisy urban birds through voice (animal/human) and language (animal/human), including the spoken and written word (human). While some of us admire these birds? obvious abilities in terms of survival, intelligence and ingenuity, many of us actively dislike their presence. We also feel threatened by those very attributes we share with them. My interest is in birds that have mixed reputations (those that are both loved and hated) and that proliferate in cities. This installation is based on the silver gull or Larus novahollandiae, the most prevalent gull in Australia, and one of the most intelligent scavengers in the country.

Influenced by the phonetic words that naturalists adopt in field guides to describe bird song (in this case Graham Pizzey’s description of the calls of the silver gull), this work operates as a kind of subtitling, dubbing or translation of the birds’ exchanges. But it is a false or fake translation because the words struggle to mimic the calls, to approximate the sounds, and cannot interpret them in any way. Some of the words are the same as ones we use in (English) speech such as ‘eh’ or ‘oh’ and this slippage suggests there is some common ground between bird and human voice and communication.





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Larus novahollandiae; Larus novahollandiae; Larus novahollandiae