Thursday, November 29, 2007

Bogus Birds Sing at Brooklyn's MetroTech

Or, The Kind of Thing You Sometimes Run Into When You Least Expect It

So there we were, strolling through MetroTech in Downtown Brooklyn when we heard, up in the trees, the sweet warbling of -- wait a minute -- the weirdest, most ungodly "birds" we ever heard. One of them sounded like somebody was croaking out, "Poor Sam Peabody. Peabody. Peabody..." Another sounded like a bunch of Zen monks taking a spin on riding lawn mowers.

Peering up into the branches, we eventually realized that the sounds were not coming from actual birds, but were emanating from overhead speakers placed throughout the trees running down the middle of the walkway running through Metrotech.

"Ha!" we thought. This must be Art. And sure enough, after rooting around a bit, we discovered that this particular piece of Art was Nina Katchadourian's "Please, Please, Pleased to Meet'cha," part of the Public Art Fund's "Everyday Eden" exhibition going on at MetroTech until next September. (Unless the real birds stage a revolt and attack the hell out of those speakers.)

Public Art Fund's Web site describes the project this way: "Please, Please, Pleased to Meet'cha is a sound project inspired by the elusive task of describing birdsong ... Because the human attempt to describe birdsong is a kind of translation problem—from aural to written, from animal to human sound—the artist asked UN translators and interpreters to interpret the sounds, suggesting that human communication might have the innate ability to cross linguistic (even species) boundaries."

Well, okay then. As long as they don't drop any -- you know -- stuff on us as we walk under the speakers.

Photos by MK Metz

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