SONGBIRDS // 2014
On the last day of the year, I opened my hotel room door to find USA Today’s front page declaring a new era: “The Year We Stopped Talking.” The lead story made the case that technology was shifting our humanity, with constant connectivity standing in for real connection. On the same day, 5,000 blackbirds rained out of the sky in Beebe, Arkansas, flocking to their deaths. These two ideas conflated in my mind: What if we, as a species, were adopting technology and adapting the most elemental part of who we are: how we relate to one another?
In the month that followed, the songbird, a communicative species like us, emerged for me as a symbol. I wondered: If a songbird ceases to sing, is it still a songbird?
The birds have become a canvas for my curiosity about the intersection of the digital and natural worlds. They are a litmus test for my own complicity with technology and its seductive/destructive allures. Through these sculptures I explore how wireless communication is changing me and re-molding our culture. They prompt another question: What are we willing to abandon in our race to acquire the next big thing?
It is no surprise to me that the spark for this work came from the written word. Writing is often the source of my curiosity, just as it has been the foundation of my career in public relations and marketing. I am grateful for the stories and ideas of Tim O’Brien, Sherry Turkle, Dave Eggers, Robert Michael Pyle and even Socrates (for I am no philosophy student), all of which figure in this work.