One Thousand Birds is an installation by Kathy Hinde with surround sound by Matthew Fairclough. Each time the installation is shown, the paper birds are re-made by people from the local community. A collection on 1000 origami cranes, according to an ancient Japanese legend, is said to grant a wish. The crane in Japan is one of the mystical or holy creatures and is said to live for a thousand years. This installation aims to bring people together through a collective act of folding an Origami bird, and was inspired by the story of Sadako Sasaki.
At the age of 12, Sadako Sasaki developed leukaemia as a result of radiation from the bombing of Hiroshima. She remembered the Japanese legend that anyone folding a thousand paper cranes is granted a wish. She attempted to fold 1000, as a wish for peace. However, she only managed 644 before she died – her friends finished the rest for her so she could be buried with 1000 birds. A statue of Sadako holding a golden crane was built at the Hiroshima Peace Park in memory of her. Every year on World Peace Day (August 6th), people from all over the world fold paper cranes and send them to Sadako’s statue in memory of the innocent victims of war.
Video images of origami birds being folded, strung together and hung in trees are projected onto one side of a hanging of 1000 paper birds. Images of the same paper birds floating down a river, through reflections of trees are projected onto the other side of the paper mass. Using the paper birds as a projection surface causes the imagery to distort and fragment, spilling onto the walls. It is only at certain viewpoints that the images can be read.
The space is filled with a surround sound composition by Matthew Fairclough created from recordings of larks. The song of the lark is said to have been the only sound heard on the French battle fields at the end of the First World War.
One Thousand Birds was exhibited at the VM Art Gallery in Karachi, Pakistan in 2004. All the birds for the exhibition were made by local children, some of them have wishes for peace written on them. The Exhibition at the VM Gallery was made possible through support from the Rangoonwala Foundation and the British Council Karachi, with special thanks to Riffat Alvi at the VM Gallery and Abdullah Syed.
One Thousand Birds was shown at The Deloitte Ignite Festival, curated by Joanna MacGregor at the Royal Opera House 3-5 Sept 2010. On this occasion all the birds were made by local children and adults at two ‘build a bird’ workshops that took place at the Opera House during August. Some birds were sent in by post, including some from Japan with Japanese messages written on them.