‘i love west leeds’ festival produce wonderfully quirky events, installations and exhibitions in the part of yorkshire i grew up in, so i was delighted to be invited to be part of ‘home tweet home’ which runs in pudsey park today through wednesday. fifteen artists have been each given a wooden birdbox to do adapt in whatever way they want.
since i was a child with an old observer guide to british birds identifying the sparrows, tits and starlings in our garden i’ve been fascinated with phonetic descriptions of birdsong. they’re utterly baffling until you hear the song itself and are able to decipher and match up the strange collection of letters. i also find a visual delight in these collections of consonants you don’t get in everyday language and took this as the inspiration for my birdbox combined with a fascination for seemingly forgotten yet functioning vintage vending machines which also seemed to figure large in my childhood.
the ‘tweet-o-matic’ is a birdbox that issues tickets of phonetic birdsong to carry around with you. the model in pudsey park this week distributes the call of a chaffinch, one of the most complex phonetic birdsongs. i’m hoping there’ll be people wandering round the park trying to pronounce it and listening out for the call.
this has been such a fun project to work on it’s got me thinking that it would be great to develop a whole family of these, each time featuring birds common to the place they are exhibited so people who stumble across them can carry a description of the sound of that place with then as they go.