sound installation by Sillyconductor
 08 NOV  10 NOV | Corneliu Miklosi Museum

Due to the continuous densification of conurbations, noise pollution within city limits have reached unprecedented levels. This does not affect solely the increasing angst of its human inhabitants but has direct repercussions upon the urban fauna and birds in particular. 

More than a decade ago, research showed that male birds trying to compete with traffic and city sounds are singing louder and at increasingly higher frequencies, which could harm their vocal cords and hearing. As a result their songs are becoming more chaotic and less diverse, which makes them less attractive to female birds and damages their mating opportunities. Ornithologists have discovered that ’Birds with richer and more complex songs do better in the mating game and are able to defend their territory more successfully. If birds start simplifying their songs so they can be heard against background noise, they might find themselves attacked by other birds who think they’re sick. This could have serious implications for conservation’.

‘There are many different strategies that birds deploy to counter the noise of the urban environment. These strategies could lead to us seeing a completely separate urban species of bird which can’t breed with its country cousin. Their songs may lose quality and become more rough-sounding. This could have serious implications on how fit and attractive they’re perceived to be by females. Even when they manage to mate, however, their female offspring will prefer males who sing in the same lower-quality way, which will eventually lead to complete isolation between different groups and inbreeding”.

It is a short flight from urban tree tops into music venues with their corresponding unhealthy sound levels and social opportunities, thus raising a question about club culture, hearing health and the role of loud volume in de/constructing relationships between social groups.

“BirdHouse” is a public installation that produces artificial birdsongs anticipating the total dissolution of birdsong complexity.

* Expect Easter Eggs.