Speaking in Bird

Nina Katchadourian's name may not be as prolific as Andy Goldsworthy or Christos and Jean Claude, though her work concentrates on similar themes: human effects on the environment at the most intimate of scales. The California born artist received her Bachelor's of Art on one side of the United States and her Masters of Art on the other. As a child, she regularly spent her summers with her grandparents on a Finnish island named Pörtö. Travelling has expanded her global understanding, though it seems to have relatively little affect on the actual size of her work.

She uses technological processes to dissect the plant and animal world. These processes have given her the means to transliterate human voices into actual bird calls. Other types of bird songs have been captured on audio, looped, and programmed into car alarms as a bit of raucous wildlife for the urban junglescape. Other, flora-based works include a series called "Renovated Mushroom" where Katchadourian used rubber bicycle tire patch kits to patch the natural crags and crevices of mushrooms she found while exploring woodland floors. After the completion of each repair job, she used still photos and video footage to capture the result. Another series demonstrated the synchronicity of flora and fauna, by substituting insect wings for fallen leaves on plants. The effect was a surprising, seemingly monstrous organic sculpture, with a slightly ironic subtext and an eerily exquisite effect.

If you're in New York City, check out her installation of human voices transliterated into bird calls at Wave Hill. There you can wander through the gardens while listening to bird calls amplified by solar powered speakers hidden amongst the trees.

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