Art exhibits often offer a message along with the visual feast.
Artist Michael Thomas Hill’s display, Forgotten Songs, is one example of a meaningful interactive project set in a public space.
At first, it may appear a little quirky. However, once the deeper story behind the inspiration for the design is uncovered it reveals itself as a beautiful tribute piece.
The installation is located in Sydney, Australia in an area called Angel Place. Magnificently dangling between buildings, the display is actually meant to bring attention to native birds and the loss of their habitats, which is a main problem attributed to bird extinction.
It focuses on the threat and effects of human imposition, specifically to the 50 different types of birds whose once natural environment is contrastingly represented by the high hanging empty birdcages that are strung along the skyline of the street.
It also has more to offer than just visual.
The artist consulted with a scientist in order to correctly ecologically represent the birds affected by the habitat loss, as well as to identity and replicate their sounds. Recording specialists captured the noises of the birds that once lived in this central area before colonization and development settled in and the songs of the once bustling birds can be heard from amplified recordings that resonate throughout the cages.
Further, the bird calls change from sunup to sundown. The sounds from the birds flying about during the day go down with the sun and the nocturnal feathered friends’ vocals lull late into the evening.
It was first formed as street art done for the city, but was so liked by residents and tourists that they requested it become a permanent fixture. The initial birdcages were replaced with new rustproof versions and inscriptions were made on the cages to honor the birds that inspired the design.
Visual displays that are meant to evoke a response or provide an awe inspiring message certainly add character and depth to any building or street.
Watch a video that shows passersby responding to the hanging, singing birdcage displays.
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