For The Birds : 2014
“Mind-blowingly brilliant. An unforgettably beautiful and resonant experience” George Monbiot, Guardian journalist and author
“For The Birds is an original and richly enjoyable experience… It is a small oasis of strange, contemplative, other-worldly loveliness in a land increasingly ruled by banal norms.” The Arts Desk
“I cannot think of another art experience that has bettered it” Jay Griffiths, author
For the Birds : an immersive night time walk into a wild, avian landscape. A group show by artists Jony Easterby, Kathy Hinde, Mark Anderson, and Ulf Pedersen. Premiered at the stunning RSPB reserve Ynys-hir in mid Wales, during October 2014, and showcased at Otari Wilton’s Bush, Wellington for the New Zealand Festival in March 2016 followed by Brighton Festival in 2016; Durham Lumiere 2017 (returning to Durham in 2019 by popular request) and Milton Keynes International Festival in 2019, to huge audiences.
For the Birds invites a visiting public on a meditative and immersive journey from dusk until dark through a woodland which is transformed by a series of bespoke light and sound installations. As transient and light as the birds themselves, these installations are all created using low cost, low power equipment suitable for remote places.
Birds offer human imagination mystery and beauty, of other lands, other ways of being, of resilience, of renewal. They are sign-bearers, omens. Twitter gives a new spin to the medieval alchemists’ language of birds, which translated what was divine and of the air into the earth of humanity and the mundane. As the huge global industry of garden-bird nurture, led by the RSPB in the UK testifies, their presence makes us feel good. But what about when we interact with birds directly and face their physical and ecological reality? What important messages do they offer in creating a home that affirms all life for a sustainable future? And what inspiration and strength can we draw?
Video of audience responses to Brighton Festival, May 2017
Photos of the installations…
CUCKOO ENSEMBLE by Jony Easterby : Cuckoo clock mechanisms mounted in ‘birdcages’, each sending out a two-note ‘cuck-ooo’
SWANEES by Kathy Hinde: Mechanised toy swanee whistles twitch and flutter attempting to imitate local songbirds. (First commissioned by TöNE Festival 2014)
ORIGAMI CRANES by Kathy Hinde : Mechanised, steel, origami cranes wind their flight path between the trees with the creaking, whirring, sounds of their mechanised wings amplified.
BIRDHOUSE FLOCK by Jony Easterby : Wooden birdbox speakers with goose feather wind vanes trigger fragments of nightingale songs following the dynamics of the wind. Birdhouse Flock highlights the fragility and destruction of nightingale habitat
64 TWEETS by Jony Easterby : 64 songbirds digitised, cut, pasted and Jungulated into manic glitch-bird-chatter. FIREFLIES by Mark Anderson : A merry random dance
CICADA TELEGRAPH by Mark Anderson : Communication breakdown
PIANO MIGRATIONS by Kathy Hinde : A derelict piano is recycled and played by birds
MUSIC BOX MIGRATIONS by Kathy Hinde and Matthew Olden : Photos of flocking birds become musical scores, echoed with variations in the trees
SHADOW BIRDCAGES by Jony Easterby : Slowly moving lights throw enigmatic shadows of birdcages
LUMINOUS BIRDS by Kathy Hinde : A flock of origami-style birds are animated with synchronised lighting and spatialised sounds suggesting the sensation of birds flying overhead. (First commissioned by Kidderminster Arts Festival 2015 with re-development & sound commissioned by Cryptic 2016)
CROWS by Pippa Taylor : A parliament of oak carved and scorched crows
VOGELSTIMMENIMITATOR by Kathy Hinde & Helmut Wolfertstetter : Virtuoso Bavarian bird imitator, Helmut Wolfertstetter, performs a range of birdsongs
PRETTY POLLY by Mark Anderson : Still captive in the wild
OWLS & NIGHTJARS by Mark Anderson : Flight paths of the night time hunters LAPWING DISPLAY by Jony Easterby : Life size bird outlines of lapwings in various stages of flight during a mating display; each drawn in electroluminescent wire to form an animation moving in an undulating loop.
NIGHTINGALES & CELLO by Kathy Hinde & Jony Easterby : In 1924 Beatrice Harrison played cello with nightingales in her garden live on BBC radio. A live cellist performs the same music with 1920’s recordings of nightingales from Beatrice’s garden, commenting on the dramatic drop in the UK Nightingale population
FEATHER TURNSTONES by Jony Easterby : Goose feathers slowy turn to pluck strings tensioned by monstrous egg-like river stones
BIRD COLLISION by Jony Easterby & Lindsey Colbourne, Performer: Gwilum Morus : Bird collision imprints etched into window panes crash and fade. Gwilum Morus recites Ymadawiad Arthur (Arthur’s Leaving) by T. Gwynn Jones with the cadence of blackbird dawn song
SWORD SCAN by Jony Easterby : A powerful green Laser paints lines across the wetland grasses creating patterns of slowly moving light creating thousands of dynamic shifting points of light on the wind blown grass.
Architectural and landscape lighting by Ulf Pedersen and bespoke route lighting by Esther Tew
Photos credits – Giles Bennett, Kathy Hinde and Nicola Easterby (see image file names)
For the Birds was a pilot multi partner project led by artist Jony Easterby, in collaboration with RSPB Ynys-hir with development support from National Theatre Wales, Arts Council Wales, and Abersytwyth Arts Center provided front of house and ticketing support.